(Real) Pay for Play

Part of the reason I’m so unproductive during the first quarter of the year is because of sports.  The NFL Playoffs are quickly followed by March Madness, which is followed by the NBA Playoffs.  I do most of my work during the summer when baseball season is well underway.  Watching nine innings of baseball on television has never been my idea of a good time.  Anyway, the first weekend of the NCAA tournament is officially in the record books.  Although my Boilers have survived, thanks to Kansas and Georgetown, my bracket looks like a window during L.A. Riots: busted.  I’m still waiting for Duke to choke.  Though it doesn’t make up for the refs not ejecting Laettner, there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching Coach K. smugly accept defeat.  (Has Duke ever recruited a [black] ballplayer who was not from a two-parent home and ostensibly solidly middle class?’)

WHAT THE F@%! HAPPENED?! (PT. II): D'Angelo

Early on the morning of March 6th, 2010 Michael Eugene Archer, better known by his stage name D’Angelo, was arrested and charged with solicitation after allegedly propositioning an undercover female police officer for oral sex. D’Angelo requested a $40 blowjob from the young woman, yet upon searching his vehicle after the arrest, officers found $12,000 in cash stashed in his SUV. The incident made headlines across the country, many of them humorous and sarcastic (“D’Angelo: R&Busted!”, etc.), and news of the incident shocked both fans keeping track of D’s progress in regards to his recovery and return to music, as well as those who maybe haven’t thought much of the guy since he was half-naked on their TV screens every night for 3 or 4 months.

Now I guess after a decade of an utterly debilitating drug and alcohol addiction, and repeated run-ins with the law, one perhaps shouldn’t find such news all that shocking. But, delays and all, D’Angelo had seemed to be seriously getting the ball rolling on his looooooong-awaited third album, entitled James River. Collaborators had been announced, songs had been leaked; there were even reports that the guy had finally gotten clean, was hitting the gym, and potentially poised to make a triumphant return to the scene. And that only makes D’s most recent fuck-up all the more disappointing.

Ten years after taking R&B music to new heights, after becoming the sex symbol of the moment with his iconic “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” video, and after respected music critic Robert Christgau dubbed him “R&B Jesus”……

WHAT THE F@%! HAPPENED?!

Women’s Her-story Month: Why Not Sex Workers (Sofia Maldonado’s Mural)?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thzHCAjOgAI

There is a “moral panic” that Keysha Whitaker highlights in “Latin Female Artist draws criticism for Times Square Mural” brewing on the streets of Times Square where Sofia Maldonado, a young Puerto Rican-Cuban woman, is under fire for creating a mural that for many embodies the sins of rap videos . . . big booty black women . . . exotic looking Latina women . . . crouch mesmerizing poses . . . and at the end of the day “un-respectable” images of black and brown women. One incensed passerby said the mural harkens back to a time when 42th Street was a “red light” district . . . a place where prostitution . . . drugs . . . and un-catholic like debauchery reign supreme. People are mad not ordinary mad, but “witch-hunt” mad. Men of color are mad not ordinary mad, but I need to protect “my woman” mad. But the question is: why? Why are they mad? Why are they Mad Men?

And all that I can think of to answer this question is that these images are not “respectable” images. They do not paint black and brown women are Supreme Court Judges—Sonia Sotomayor—or as First Ladies—Michelle Obama—or as multi-billionaires—Oprah—or as activist— Linda Chavez-Thompson—or as writers—Sandra Cisneros. Nope . . . as one mural viewer said, “They look like prostitutes.” And in response to this I say [silent drum roll], why not sex workers? Why not a mural honoring sex workers during Women’s Her-story Month? Of course, this is not to say that the mural showcase sex workers, but the way in which people are talking about the images of the mural gives substance to the claim that people see the images as such.

Howard (1), Hollywood (0)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVzv-SmPtbU&feature=related

Howard Stern was right. Gabourey Sidibe is a big girl. And with the exception of The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Fit Club, Frat Boy Comedies, and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, there aren’t many heavyweight folk in Hollywood or in much of TV land. Thus it isn’t a surprise Gabourey can’t find anyone in the audience that looks like her. In addition to being obese, she is also black. And while Hollywood has undergone some changes, black actresses still have to quote/give thanks to old Ms. Hattie McDowell because each time a black woman wins, it is still that much of an achievement. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep (phenomenal by the way) can kick back laughing, arms relaxed, knowing yet another meaty role will find its way to her. She will sing, she will dance, she will be horrific, she will be sexy, she will be everything. So Stern’s comments about Gabby aren’t as far off as they seem and may say more about Hollywood and the rest of the world than it does about Gabby.

Minority Jobless Gap

CNBC | March 18, 2010

A new report by the Joint Economic Committee shows the struggle for jobs is particularly acute for African Americans. William Rodgers, a Rutgers professor and former Labor Dept. chief economist, and Harley Shaiken, a professor at UC Berkeley, share their insight.

"They're Not Us" Baseball's Diversity Issue

Baseball is an international game, a truly international game. But the simple fact is that there is a lack of Black players in Major League Baseball. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter spoke to that fact and now the Major League Baseball community is in an uproar. Everyone from bloggers to Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has weighed in on Hunter’s candid comments.

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African American. They’re not us. They’re impostors… Even people I know come up and say, ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a Black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not Black.’ “