What is the Current Direction of Hip-Hop?

Jasiri X and Pharoahe Monch at the Brooklyn Bowl for the Sandy Relief Concert (Photo by Paradise Gray)

On “Our World with Black Enterprise“, hosted by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, we discussed the current state of Hip-Hop and it’s future, with Hip-Hop artist Pharoahe Monch, Dr. Tricia Rose, chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University and myself. I still believe it’s the best of times and the worst of times in Hip-Hop.

That — I Don’t Like, Or What I Hope Gets Got on the Eve of 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow many of us will start making resolutions we will inevitably break. I don’t make resolutions; I’m also not into composing “Best of…” and “Worst of…” lists mostly because I don’t choose to dedicate my memory to cataloging such things. Since my blogging day has coincided with the event, however, I did take moment to think about a few things that were major in the ‘012 that I hope meet their demise today so that I don’t have to deal them in the ‘013. After the jump, check out the nominees and the winner.
And the nominees are…

Chicago Reaches 500 Homicides in 2012

Chicago has officially reached 500 homicides in 2012, after a fatal shooting on the city’s West Side yesterday.

The shooting happened just a few hours after the CPD announced the city was one murder away from reaching the horrific figure.

The last time Chicago logged 500 homicides was in 2008. Last year, the city had 435.

The Pope, Lingering Intolerance & Some Books I Wish He Would Read

The Catholic Church lead by Pope Benedict XVI continues to spew out homophobic teachings as he (a man disconnected by at least 5 generations) called me “unnatural.” As the Pope ironically celebrated his pagan holiday by lighting a Christmas tree, he also used the stage as an opportunity to tell women what they could and couldn’t do with their bodies, and to tell the LGBTQ community what the boundaries of love are.

Rapper Shawty Lo and His 10 Baby Mommas To Star in New Reality Show

A new reality tv show will focus on the lives of Shawty Lo and his ten baby mommas; with whom he has eleven kids.

The show is supposed to detail the constant drama of ten women vying for the attention of Lo, who also has a girlfriend the same age as his oldest children.

Set to air on Oxygen next year, many are calling it a new low for reality tv.

Not Giving Django Too Much Credit

Django is a film that’s been pivoted as an answer, when it raises more questions than anything. Should it be viewed within its historical significance, and the extent to which it can portray the horrors of slavery while reinvigorating a moment in history that many find irrelevant and antiquated? Or rather, should it be divorced from its political implications, and viewed primarily as a work of art that allows audiences to immerse themselves within its riveting sensory and cathartic pleasures? Moreover, how are we to reconcile another white director’s ahistorical foray into America’s traumatic racial histories? Regardless of the questions it poses, Django has been shockingly well regarded, and has not been given the rigorous critical attention that it merits. Undoubtedly, Django is a good film, but it is my intent here to unearth some of Django’s more problematic dimensions, and provide some much needed criticism to what is at least an interesting film.

Cornell West: Gun Control Only Becomes An Issue When “Vanillia” People Get Shot

Appearing on his Smiley & West show with Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornell West pulled no punches while discussing the current national conversation surrounding gun control.

While he’s happy the discussion is happening at all, he laments the fact that it takes white people getting shot for the debate to be taken seriously.

McDonalds Has a Lump of Coal for Your Xmas Stocking

This year McDonald’s will be open on Christmas day. “Starting with Thanksgiving, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays,” reads the Nov. 8 memo from McDonald’s USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Johannesen. “Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day.”

But at least that means thousands of minimum wage employees will get overtime pay, right? Wrong! McDonald’s spokeswoman Heather Oldani said, “when our company-owned restaurants are open on the holidays, the staff voluntarily sign up to work. There is no regular overtime pay.” Apparently it’s not bad enough to pay your employees a wage so small they can’t afford Christmas, now they have to work on Christmas Day for that same low pay.