For Your Consideration: Summer M.’s Movie Pitch

It’s awards season. And although I did not spend a tremendous amount of time in the movie theater, I learned a thing or two about what’s hot in Hollywood, which might be summed up in the following tweet from Erykah Badu:


Judging from the trailers I sometimes catch while watching television, this observation seems about right. There are two billboards within three blocks of my home: one of a few pale white people (Twilight) and one of Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained). The combination of Badu’s tweet along with the deluge of for and against commentary I’ve seen clog up my various social media timelines about Taratino’s now Golden Globe-winning project, I think now is the right time for me to pitch a film project that encapsulates Hollywood’s current obsession with the garlic-allergic and the enslaved. Check out my one page after the jump.

Summer M.’s Finals Week

For many, today marks the beginnings of finals week, a slew of tests given at the end of the semester wherein students attempt to coherently regurgitate everything they learned last night while cramming. In this tradition, I’d like to assign several essay questions to a few folks who have some explaining to do. You know what they say: you can take the student out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the student. Actually, “they” don’t say that at all. Who is “they,” anyway?

Each essay should be 8 – 10 double-spaced pages and cite at least 5 non-Wikipedia sources. Plagiarism is for suckas.

After the jump, check out the “student”, major, and essay topic.

They Came Before Troy Barnes

I just learned about “blerds” and I’m over them already. I got an email with a link to an NPR story about this apparently ascendant set of non-athletic, non-jive talking black folks–mostly men, I guess–who are apparently populating television shows and stand-up stages. It took fewer than 4 minutes, the length of Eric Deggans’ piece, for me to find the (alleged) trend worthy of my very first holiday humbug. According to Deggans’ essay, heretofore black nerds were some sort of weird, non-race-based personification of biraciality, in that being a black nerd was to be caught between what white people expected of blacks and black people’s apparent embarrassment that a member of the race wasn’t unequivocally cool. Deggans goes on to credit Kanye West–yeah, Mr. College Dropout–as the beginning of the “blerd” trend, going as far as willfully ignoring the Carlton Banks (nerd and class) swag Kanye borrowed. To further buttress his claim that he is a black nerd, Mr. Deggans botches interpreting West’s lyrics, which I’m going to assume was just a way of Deggans saying he’s so nerdy he can’t decipher the meaning of West’s rhymes without the help of Rap Genius. 

Kanye West, a rap star give to Argyle sweaters and pouring his heart out on wax, became the hottest thing in hip-hop. Now, raps a tough game, but Kanye can build rhymes around living on pancake batter after his jaw got broken in a car crash or drop references to an M. Night Shyamalan comic book movie. How nerdy is that?

Look around now and blerds are everywhere, intellectual, rock and roll loving, politics talking, comic book reading black nerds.

The Price of the Ticket

As much as I’d like to make today’s post an extension of last week’s racist Halloween costume checklist by including entries such as, “Is this costume one of Oprah’s favorite things?” I think it’s best to say a word or two about the upcoming Nina Simone biopic.

Late last week, images of Zoe Saldana as Simone began circulating the internet. And they were even more cringe worthy than my pessimist self had been expecting. Saldana’s face looked as if the makeup artist had been practicing some sort of patchy blackface in anticipation of (racist-ass) Halloween or working under the incorrect assumption that Saldana was playing Al Jolson’s great-great-grand niece in a horror flick. I don’t know. What is clear, though, is that the pictures have given no one who cares any sort of “relief.” In fact, the pictures are now serving as the current target of our collective vitriol.

VIDEO: Chris Brown Is Stressed Out About ‘Loving Two People’

Chris Brown wants his fans to know that he’s torn between two women.


In a video released by Brown, the singer admits that he’s drunk and then proceeds to consider whether one can love two people at the same time:

“When you share history with somebody, then you tend to fall in love with somebody else, it’s kinda difficult,” Brown says. “Is there such thing as loving two people? I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s possible, but for me, I feel like that. I don’t want to hurt either-or. I’m not trying to be a player.”

Coming Out Stories: On Frank Ocean

I’ve spent the last week treading in the liquid of a queer-flavored ambivalence, trying to determine why the Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean coming out announcements mean less to me than other people. I have seen enough episodes of Coming Out Stories and foolishly subjected myself and my partner to the awkward anti-climax of telling my father about my sexuality to know that helping folks who somehow don’t know how to use context clues with declarations of same-gender-lovingness is supposed to make one feel liberated, free, authentic. I know that my role is to stuff this blog entry full of words, symbolic pats on the back of Anderson, of Frank. Each paragraph should serve as a swell of applause for their bravery, I suppose. But there are enough of those posts already. And I try not to be disingenuous. So, I have spent the last week avoiding being pummeled by all of the congratulatory remarks for several reasons: 1. I needed to put words to my own feelings of ambivalence with as little outside influence as possible, 2. I read two responses to Frank Ocean’s apparent coming out and knew that something was terribly awry, and 3. Although I had treated both “announcements” similarly–that is, I made snarky remarks via Twitter and Facebook–I was also told that Frank Ocean’s coming out was more important than Anderson Cooper’s.