From The Shrug Files: Queen Latifah Comes Out?

When Queen Latifah signed on to perform at Long Beach, California’s gay pride parade, many raised their eyebrows and wondered if she would finally seize the opportunity to come out.

Although speculations about the Queen’s sexuality have circulated for years, she has never explicitly come out as a lesbian. Well, during her pride performance, those who had been waiting for an Ellen-like, “Yep, I’m gay” statement didn’t exactly get their needs met.

But they did get something to chew on.

Lupe Fiasco’s Releases New Single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” Angers Pete Rock

DJ, producer, and overall hip-hop legend is not happy with skateboard king and critical darling, Lupe Fiasco’s new single, “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free).” The song samples Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s classic “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).” Arguably one of the best 5 songs of the genre, the dirge was composed in the aftermath of the tragic death of Troy “Trouble T Roy” Dixon, a dancer in Heavy D. and The Boyz. The song is incredibly personal to Pete Rock, and he  took to Twitter last night to make it  known that he was unhappy with Fiasco:

Fascinating Article: ‘Colonialism Helped Launch HIV Epidemic in Africa’

A stunning article in the Washington Post shines a light on the connection between the early growth stages of HIV, and its coinciding with the West’s “Scramble for Africa” during the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

Scientists have been able to trace the origins of HIV to Central Africa; and its initial outbreak to a bustling port city called Kinshasa. Colonialism in Africa created large, chaotic, bustling cities like Kinshasa; perfect breeding grounds for an epidemic.

The article asserts that without Colonialism, it is likely that HIV would never have reached even a fraction of the tens of thousands of people that is has reached.

Rihanna and Chris Brown Release ‘Birthday Cake (remix),’ and the internet explodes…

Rihanna set off a firestorm of controversy last night when a remix of RiRi’s Talk That Talk mini-song “Birthday Cake” leaked, featuring none other than former boyfriend Chris Brown.

In case you forgot, Chris Brown is still on probation after assaulting Rihanna the night before the Grammys in 2009.

Needless to say, fans and critics are divided over Rihanna’s decision to be even remotely friendly towards Brown, let alone record music with him. And the overtly-sexual nature of the song doesn’t make things much better.

Brown’s first line: “Girl, I wanna fuck you right now/Been a long time, I’ve been missing your body.”

So is it RiRi’s prerogative, or is she setting a bad example for young women?

NEW MUSIC: Nicki Minaj ‘Starships’

After delivering a jaw-dropping (and WTF-inducing) Grammy performance last Sunday, Nicki Minaj aims for radio ubiquity with her new single “Starships.”

Produced by Lady Gaga’s go-to producer RedOne, “Starships” strikes the perfect balance between Nicki’s signature rap-sung vocal delivery, and a larger-than-life, arena-sized dance-pop sound.

This could be be a massive hit.

Black History Spotlight: ASSATA SHAKUR

Assata Shakur is a true revolutionary.

She fought for justice as a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Movement, before being falsely accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Refusing to be just another victim of COINTELPRO, Assata escaped from prison on November 2nd, 1979 and eventually found her way to Cuba, where she currently resides.

Today there is a one million dollar bounty on Shakur’s head; the FBI classifies her as a domestic terrorist.

Of course, we know the truth.