The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Rihanna And the Attack of the Ugly Outfits In Canada and Other Hit or Miss Celebrities

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I didn’t run my celebrity photo essay on Friday (I was helping a friend out that day. She’s pregnant and I offered to help out around the house.) So this is a make-up feature with some new material from over the weekend. Including an Essence gala feature Kanye West’s ex-fiancee Alexis Phifer, notables frightening me at Canada’s Much Music Awards and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looking delicious but needing a shave.

Per usual, I encourage you to add your own observations to the hit parade.

ESSENCE MAGAZINE PONDERS “IF LOOKS COULD KILL”

Aspiring designer and ex of Kanye, Alexis Phifer kind of looks like MTV’s Real World Los Angeles alum Tami Roman in this picture. I don’t know how to feel about the dress, which is kind of cute on her, but also reminds me of toilet paper.

Keyshia Cole. She’s cute, but I’m not feeling the anything she has on.

I have no idea who this “Mashonda” person is, but she’s in nearly every picture at this event.

I’m going to assume Toyota is some kind of sponsor considering everyone is posing like this is Low Riders International.

RIHANNA AND THE MUCH MUSIC OUTFITS OF DOOM

It didn’t start out that bad …

Her hair was cute.

Then the “WTF?” alarm started blaring over the weird white harness looking faux suspenders.

And it only gets worse from here.

I’m just going to say it. She looks like she’s auditioning for an all-female version of the Village People, but I can’t tell if she’s a cop, soldier or a sailor in her pleather pants.

As for other WTF moments. Did you know New Kids On the Block are back?

I was never a big NKOTB fan (it’s all about New Edition), but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to liking a few songs (which all managed to get played on BET back in the day).

While the “bad boy” of the group, Donnie Wahlberg (the lesser Wahlberg because it’s ALL about Marky Mark and his Calvins) won me over as a cop on the aborted NBC drama “Boomtown,” my favorite New Kid is/was Jordan Knight because I bought his solo album seven years ago and it was a nice dose of pop. I especially loved his take on Prince’s “I Would Never Take the Place of Your Man” by slowing it down and making it a ballad.

That said, who wanted this? What sick bastard was demanding to hear “Hanging Tough” one more ‘gain? Was it the gays? Was it the 30 year old women who watched that crappy New Kids cartoon back in the early 90s? Who, dammit?

Just get on the floor and do the New Kids dance!

And now for some randomness …

Here’s the pop n’ lock, break dancing crew Jabbawockeez. I won’t make fun of them because I totally have a B-boy fetish that knows no bounds. Even if it’s cheesy. I see a guy do the robot and I fall in love. I honestly cannot tell you why. B-boys are just sexy to me. They can dance and they are always in excellent shape. I’ve never met a B-boy who was a complete asshole. They reduce me to giggles and blushing. In Bakersfield there was a breaker I knew who I called “Farm Boy” in my head because he always wore plaid shirts and had red hair. Alone he looked unassuming. But put down some cardboard and he suddenly came alive the most magnetic man in the world with that big smile and all the spinning.

But I’m going to stop writing about it now because if I go on for too long it starts to get embarrassing and all TMI — too much information. So I’ll leave you with this: I have a B-boy fetish. It is the only fetish I have. I don’t advertise that, lest I have every skeevy guy who studied a Darrin’s Dance Grooves video pushing up on me.

As if the Pussycat Dolls weren’t ridiculous enough, now we have Girlicious. They have a “I’m hotter than you” song called “Like Me.” It doesn’t suck. But then I like crappy dance pop. I own an Eden’s Crush album.

Seriously, it totally did not suck that hard. There were some good tracks on there.

But I have utter disdain for the Pussycat Dolls. Other than their overplayed “Don’t Cha” I’ve found them dull. But hey. If you have abs and you’re willing to be half nekkid all the time, I say go for it.

You could do worse.

THE ROCK FOUNDATION

And her is Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, gorgeous as ever, but in need of a shave at a premiere event of his new film “Get Smart,” where he stars with Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell. (I love all three actors so I will be plunking down my $7.50.) This premiere was held in Las Vegas as a part of his charity The Rock Foundation. (The Rock loves the kids!) He received a Brenden Star inside of the Palms Casino Hotel.

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Written by blacksnob

June 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Kimora With Cupcakes and Theo Huxtable Sings?

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Today’s celebrity photo roundup is very random. Just pics of my homegirl, Florissant, Mo.’s own, not-black-black-person Kimora Lee Simmons at a party thrown for her and former Vibe Magazine editor-in-chief Emil Wilbekin by Giant Magazine.

Also featured are pictures from the Essence Music Festival featuring Malcolm Jamal Warner, performing, with his band, Faith Evans in some of the World’s Ugliest Clothes, Anthony Hamilton and, of all people, “media personality” Sway.

But first, Kimora and all her expensive jewelry, camera-hogging, pretending-to-eat-a-cupcake glory.

First off. I’m always a little concerned when people try to do the “sexy face” on camera. It’s not that Kiki isn’t sexy. It’s just … no. The squint. The sloppily open mouth. The fact that she did it half assed when she is/was a professional fashion model. She knows how to give good face. What the hell, Kiki? This is all kinds of wrong. Plus, in real life, she would just inhale that cupcake, but since she poured herself into the tightest little black dress she could find she can’t risk it.

WireImage is consistently inadequate in their descriptions of photos. This pic was labeled as Simmons and “family.” Who? Who are these family members? Cousins? Half-siblings? Full siblings? Please explain! When you’re a not-black-black-person, who’s black, Korean and Japanese anyone could be your family.

Kimora always knows where the camera is … even for a “spontaneous” hug with fellow party honoree Emil Wilbekin.

I swear. When I look at the photos I can hear the loudness of Kimora’s laugh. Because when you’re already a six-foot-tall Glamazon you really need a voice that can be heard from several blocks away.

While Kimora was holding in her stomach for cute party pics, Malcolm Jamal Warner, aka “Theo Huxtable,” was throwing down for Essence Magazine. I didn’t even know he could blow.

Anthony Hamilton

The first of “Faith Evans What the Hell Are You Wearing?” Black leather jacket and black thigh high boots with a flimsy, multi-colored baby doll dress. Girl … stop. It’s one-part Strawberry Shortcake and one-part pirate themed stripper.

Anthony Hamilton and wife Tarsha

I don’t care if Sway and MJW stand next to it and point. I’m still not drinking Coke Zero.

And Sway’s got on an Andy Warhol-esque Obama T-shirt.

And now for part two … more pirate boots, skinny jeans and a Led Zeppelin T-shirt. I won’t ask her to name a Zeppelin song (I’m all about “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”) as a lot of people wear rock n’ roll band shirts just because they look neat. But really, girl? What are you wearing? And that purse is so big she could kill Theo and smuggle his body out in it. I’m not saying pirate boots with the skinny jeans are a bad thing. On some women they look absolutely amazing. But they make Faith look like she’s gotta a lil’ Captain in her.

Is It Just Me …?

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Or does Rihanna’sTake A Bow” sound like a gimmickier version of Beyonce’sIrreplaceable?” I don’t like either song, but they basically tackle the same topic (woman kicking out pathetic man), only Rihanna’s takes on this cheesy theme of equating the man’s pleas to take him back with Masterpiece Theater.

I’m not saying her song blows, but … “you’re so ugly when you cry?

I’m not a huge fan of Rihanna’s although I do like one or two songs by her. And I initially wasn’t that big of a fan of Beyonce’s until “Crazy In Love” came out and I had to concede that she could throw down even if she tends to over do it a bit (which is why I don’t like “Irreplaceable). I also find these sort of songs a little ridiculous.

I prefer furious to snarky when it comes to my jilted woman songs as I wrote in an earlier column. Snarky makes it sound like you’re this superior, arrogant, schadenfreude-loving drama queen. You sound so Holier Than Thou that I’m saying “No wonder he cheated on you” to the radio. There’s no real anger in “Take A Bow.” There’s no real examination of actual pain, no hurt, no damage. Only the fantasy of “You’re perfect and he sucks.”

It’s an ideation of how we all wish we could act in a break up as opposed to what we actually do — which is seethe, cry, possibly plot revenge then tearfully let it go. I’m not saying we all haven’t fantasized about our jerks begging to take us back while we laughed manically, looking fabulous and 15 pounds slimmer, but most of us just gave his stuff to the Goodwill, cut him out of the pictures we wanted to keep, then lied around the house eating ice cream and listening to Sade.

Most of us are not that hard rock about it. We like to think we are, but we’re not. It’s OK to be jealous, hurt and act out as long as you don’t do anything that could get you arrested. You’re not weak if you can’t coolly kick a man to the curb while telling him off ever-so-perfectly. You’re just human. So give me a song about humanity.

And on second thought, “Take A Bow” does blow. I’ve seen Rihanna. She’s cool, but I don’t care what she sings. She does not look like that much of a badass.

Written by blacksnob

June 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm

For the Grown Folks

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It’s the fourth annual Apollo Hall of Fame Awards where “Actors-with-a-capital-A,” Denzel and Pauletta Washington were honored and Smokey Robinson was inducted. Let us all take a break for the kids, the Rhianna’s and Nick Cannon’s and see how the older cats do it when they step out.

*Warning. I hate almost everything they’re wearing.

We all know that Denzel is an incredibly handsome man. I’ve gotten used to him dressing like crap all the time, but he managed to half pull himself together to receive his award. And while I love his wife Pauletta that dress is looks like a Hefty, Hefty Cinch Sack. And her handbag looks like a carpet sample. Cute shoes though.

Top: Music Exec. Cathy Hughes and activist/talking head Rev. Al Sharpton. Below: Rep. Charlie Rangel and his wife.

Ruby Dee: I can only hope to be this “Eartha Kitt” hot when I hit 83. The sunglasses? Awesome. They’re both fashionable and “I’m an older lady who doesn’t care what you think anymore.” And she is cool from her short silver ‘do to her glistening blue ensemble.

Oprah’s BFF Gail King always looks bad to me, but she keeps trying and that’s half the battle. That wig isn’t working for me and she probably shouldn’t rock a sleeveless look, but hey, I’ve seen her in worse. Cute shoes though.

India.Arie … I hate what you’re wearing. I don’t know how to do justice to how ugly this dress is. Maybe it’s the mix of patterns, the gold appliqué circles sewn on, the fact that it is a mini dress or the split sleeves. Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t look elegant or ethereal or glamorous. She looks like she got her hair done a week ago, rolled out of bed and grabbed the only thing that fit in her closet and wore it to the show. Cute shoes though … even if they look like they’re strangling your feet.

Tamara Tunie: Hmmm … Tamara is an attractive woman and I guess this outfit is OK, but … I don’t know. Maybe it’s the skirt. I’m just not feeling it.

Smokey and Frances Robinson: Smokey looks great as always. Once again, what is up with every woman not India.Arie dressing in shiny garbage bags? Are clothes two sizes to big for you, cinched with a belt what’s hot right now with the grown n’ sexy set? Despite the fact she looks like she’s wearing a fluffy, metallic trench coat, Frances does look pretty.

Top: S. Epatha Merkerson looking like an 8th grade English teacher; Wanda Sykes looking kind of awesome in animal print; Earth, Wind & Fire looking a hot mess as always with the perm and the leather and the sunglasses; and Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, prolific songwriters who gave me “Solid,” solid as a rock, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” That’s almost enough to make me forgive Nick’s perm. Although, to keep it real, his perm looks almost as good as mine did in college.

And now for some pics from the show …

Still hate the dress.

It’s all about control and she has a lot of it in her leather Rhythm Nation/Matrix jacket and really modular silver ring.

And of course, Mr. Baby Wipes himself, Terrence Howard, forever sexy and still looking like he ain’t worth a damn. I mean, seriously? Who could trust a man with such a high degree of cool? He’s rocking a hat for Lord’s sake. A hat! He makes me want pull a Tyrone Davis and cha-aaaange my mind.

Memorial Day Weekend Randomness

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The Snob is a big fan of good music. Even when it’s not sung in English. Especially if it falls into the soul/R&B/jazz continuum. Last year I discovered South Korea’s answer to Usher and Justin Timberlake, pop singer/actor/model/pop n’ lock enthusiast Rain, and his song “Escaping the Sun” on of all things, The Colbert Report. I went to Amazon.com in search for it, knowing full well it would be an import and cost way too much money. (I wanted for months to buy UK’s The Servant’s self-titled album, but then Amazon decided to stop teasing me and put it up for download.)

Anyway, long story short. Amazon does not have the Rain album that contains this song. This is worse than when I had to move heaven and earth online to get Mayumi Kojima’s “Hatsukoi” after I heard it in, of all things, a Nintendo commercial. I suppose I could stop being lazy and do some serious internet crunching to find the damn thing. Learn enough bootleg Anglicized Korean to determine which site will hook me up and which will just infect my hard drive with malware, pop ups n’ porn.

Why can’t it be easy to find like Japanese Pop’s Pizzicato Five or Asian American sample/hip hop mashup Cibo Matto? The man is doing songs with Omarion of all people! There is a demand. Meet it, marketplace!

But if anyone out there in Snob World knows how to hook a Korean pop loving sista up with some Rain that is not the bitorrent malware file from hell, I’d appreciate it, because, seriously …

I need this song in my life.

That said, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the shit out of San Antonio Friday night. It was not as sweet as when the Lakers beat the shit out of Utah. Because I live to watch the Jazz lose, but it was nice to see my fake Laker boyfriend is hot half-black Jewish incognegro Jordan Farmar and the rest of the second string get a chance to run around like little kids because the Lakers were up by 26 in the fourth quarter. They went on to win the game by 30 points after Luke Walton, perpetual whipping boy in our household, drained a three from downtown.

I’m just glad the Cavs didn’t make it to the Finals, because if they had and if the Lakers make it there I’d be torn between Farmar and my fake Cavs boyfriend Daniel Gibson, who people insisting on calling Boobie because that’s what the brother’s mother calls him. Stop insulting my fake Cavs boyfriend. He has a first name, you emasculating TNT announcers.

BTW: I totally love men who can shoot a three in the clutch. I’m still dreaming about Reggie Miller talking shit and raining threes on them. It’s sad that a dude that talented has zero rings.

Eva Longoria’s “desperate” ass took Tony Parker from me, so I don’t have a fake boyfriend on the Spurs anymore. Not that there would be any scenario where I would not root for the Lakers, fake boyfriends or no. I’ve loved them since Magic Johnson. I love them up or down. I made it through Kobe Bryant’s rape charge and Bryant throwing a hissyfit before the season began. I was down even during the pre-Kobe, Shaq years which were craptacular considering “hack a Shaq” was en vogue (is it ever NOT en vogue?) and I had to watch him destroy the team through his inability to get two at the foul line.

I just love the Lakers. The Lakers and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, are the only teams I’ve ever given a damn about. (I know I’m from St. Louis and hence contractually obligated to back the Cardinals, but … ahem … fuck the Cardinals.)

I know my teams of choice not beloved by all (mostly because they’re so arrogant from having legendary franchise histories behind them). But I love their chest pumping, nose thumbing, king-of-the-world asses. Confidence is sexy and they got sexy by the Escalades.

Stay sexy, you arrogant bastards.

What If Puffy Threw A Party and No A-Listers Came?

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“Look at dem dolphin teeth!”

Wasn’t there a time when Puffy, I’m sorry, Diddy, threw a party and Demi and Ashton showed up? When New York’s glamazons, music all-stars and hip hop moguls showed up to get tipsy?

But the Shiny Suit Man threw a party over the weekend launching some new piece of crap he’s shilling and the best he could get was Nick Cannon (sans Mariah Carey, so that almost doesn’t count) and Kim Kardashian (sans Reggie Bush, so who is she again?)

Poor Shiny Suit Man with the dolphin teeth. Not even a Justin Timberlake or a Jessica Alba. No cool kids!

But, I’ll cut him some slack. He did get John Mayer and Quincy Jones to show up. But then he also got a crazy Tichina Arnold. Beggars can’t be choosy!

Work it, Tichina! Work it!

Written by blacksnob

May 20, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Hip Hop Hedonism In the "P" Power Era

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A few years back I started making Andy Warhol homages to Lil Kim. Not because I liked Lil Kim or her music. Not because she was some epitome of manufactured beauty. But because of what she’d become, because of what Christopher Wallace, Notorious B.I.G., created her to be, the one thing she had to sell and sold greatly.

Lil Kim is a commodity like so many other things in the post-Shiny Suit Era of the Hip Hop Industry. A time when female MCs were really damaged girls on the come up willing to become glammed up, exalted strippers spitting rhymes they did not write. Flaunting game that was coached and coaxed. Male producers boosting them like hot cars. Flipping them like refurbished homes. They were ample, eager, hungry enough to get down on all fours and become profane provocateurs who could provide money based on “Pussy Power.”

Pussy Power is not feminism. It is not womanism. It is about your worth being reduced to your private parts. Your parts being the only thing you can sell. Tits. Ass. Vagina. Marginal face with exemplary chassis. Girls getting bodied for talents they never possessed, but paraded about as the supreme because they fulfill male fantasy. This is not the same as an attractive woman with brains who uses her charm and guile and beauty to advance like an axiomatic Goddess. A success story who glides amongst us and gains the longing stares of men and women alike. This is the aspirational woman. The dream.

The likes of Lil Kim, Trina, Remy Ma and Foxy Brown fresh from prison are not.

It’s amazing that any woman, girl, child could look at this coterie of cunts and find their dreams. That they could learn their sad origin tales of sexual abuse and abandonment leading them to paths of decadence and destruction and want to cosign to a testosterone fueled world where a credit card in the crack of an ass crudely demonstrates the vulgar truths.

Pussy Power is a distortion; A liberation fantasy of pulsating pornography where women become fuck dolls, a bang, throwaway thing. They are the jump off draped in cheap chinchilla and bedazzled cubic zirconia while their impresarios prance about barking, “Skeet, skeet, skeet.”

Pussy Power is fleeting. Just like how every stripper and porn star has an expiration date, so do these crass exhibitionists/hedonists. In their male written, fantasy lyrics they call their perversions the downest of down, the hardest of hard while engaging in celebratory acts of sexual anarchy. These behaviors binding them to the sexist rules of glittering genitalia and mesmerizing mammary glands. Talentless hulls their worth is in their mechanics, a return to the slave auction of old.

“Fifteen hundred dollars,” cried the auctioneer and the maiden was struck for that sum. This was a Southern auction at which the bones, muscles, sinews, blood and nerves of a young lady of sixteen were sold for five hundred dollars; her moral character for two hundred; her improved intellect for one hundred; her Christianity for three hundred ; and her chastity and virtue for four hundred dollars more.

— “Clotel or The President’s Daughter,” by William Wells Brown

Unlike the young, innocent Clotel of Brown’s novel, these Pussy Power proprietors are twisted in their own game, knowing this is what it takes to push record label weight. To get the MAC makeup ads, the VIBE covers and the Apple Bottom Jeans. This is what they want by any means. Damn dignity ’til it’s dead if wealth you can bed. Can you tongue kiss Cartier or fuck a $3000 pure white Prada coat? Can the finest of leather and gold and luxury goods give you that Everlasting Gobstopper of orgasms?

Some are too young to know they are selling themselves when it happens. Some know exactly what they’re doing. And some become pathetic caricatures of gapped mouthed blow-up dolls being fondled by a tipsy Motown diva live on television, without thinking. It was so primal, she had to reach out and touch it to see if such ignorance was real, if shame had been murdered in a back alley by Col. Mustard with the candlestick. Or was it because it was out there as an advertisement. The exposed breast and the pastie were product meant to be sampled and enjoyed like 250-count Wamsutta sheets and teddy bears from the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Maybe Diana Ross just wanted to check out the merchandise.

Pussy Power tells a young girl a blow job is the emancipation proclamation. That an STD is an occupational hazard. That “I’m not a whore because whores work street corners, turn tricks, get smacked by pimps and fucked by johns.” They don’t rock a stage next to 50 Cent where even he has no respect as you bounce beside. Where he treats you like fading stock. Like you’re Enron.

Crash, bitch. Crash.

The American woman at her best in hi-tone commercial imagery is represent as either openly, joyously brazen and whorish, begging to take it in any orifice, or unconsciously wanton and bursting with fresh, childish, as-yet-undiscovered virginal whorishnesss, such as the fifteen-year-old girl in the Calvin Klein ads who looks like she just got punched in the face.

— “A Massive Swelling,” by Cintra Wilson

I, obviously, am filled with a disgust for this pornography masquerading as empowerment. I can still remember hip hop filled with female MCs who were not created as male playthings but were organic beings of intellect and talent. The respected pioneers and purveyors gynocentric ryhmes like MC Lyte, Queen Latifa, Monie Love, Salt N’ Pepa, Bahamadia, Left Eye and Lauryn Hill. I remembered songs to party to and songs that made me think. From drugs to feminism to AIDS to emotional loss, love and abandonment. These were women with talents. These were not modern Hottentot Venuses, perfecting freshly fucked faces while drenched wet down Korean weaves.

In our anything for a dollar world, people will say we’re all grown. If Foxy Brown wants to act a fool, if she wants to pose naked because that is all she has if Jay doesn’t write the lyrics, so be it. This a business and sex has sold since there were men willing to pay for it.

But I worry about the image it sends to girls who still absorb this Pussy Power propaganda. It tells girls, especially black girls who don’t know the history of our sexualization, that only the superficial matters. Sex and consumerism are the only true American faiths. These girls do not know the history of how our parts were dissected, embalmed and preserved, then displayed as recently as 1974 in France. How we were measured and partitioned. How there was a balkanization of our sexual beings that is still remains to this day.

It is healthy and normal for young girls to explore their sexuality within the confides of their teenage world. It should not be influenced or encouraged by entertainers who are dressed like an army of Eliot Spitzer’s seven diamond whores. These women are dressed to sell. Not for love. Not for respect. They are reconstructed cattle, plastic show ponies. A little tit for tat. A little ass for cash. But this should not be paragon.

We shouldn’t have this.

The market has spoken and the industry wants these haggard-faced rough riders. We must hold tight to their daughters, love them and educate them early. We cannot wait for the world to teach them these venereal, heart break-laced horrors. We can not stand idly by as real sexuality is forgotten and becomes a victim to Pussy Power and machismo driven mythology about women crafted as a utility tool of stimulation. Sex, in its true form, should be a beautiful, healthy expression of joy, love, recreation, self-discovery and procreation. It should not be a commodity. It should not be taught as a product. It should be explained honestly, every question answered for your sons and daughters. Don’t allow them to learn true love from BET. Don’t allow them to wander into the wilderness without your wisdom and protection.

And for those who fear teaching their children about sex will turn them to promiscuous fiends, let me be a witness. My mother started to teach me about sex, gradually, from the third grade through the eight grade. She explained to me the changes happening in my body and why. She explained the feelings. She explained what was happening to my male classmates. She explained the slang and corrected the misinformation. She taught me the proper terms and the consequences, but she did not preach. She did not demand that I stay a virgin. But strangely none of The Snob Girls got pregnant in high school or college. All The Snob Girls are determined to have a ring on their finger before a baby pops out.

This doesn’t mean that I remained chaste forever. But I didn’t do it when I was young and dumb either, drunken with some SOB telling me that the cream from his “magic stick” is good for my complexion.

Education is the only way to combat the Pussy Power era. Teach your daughters self respect. Teach your sons to respect women. Teach true feminism and womanism. Teach true self-worth and love.

Because like cockroaches and taxes, Lil Kim isn’t going anywhere.

Written by blacksnob

May 18, 2008 at 9:20 am