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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Death of Cool or The Passing Of the Inimitable Percy Sutton

A few words and ruminations on one of my heroes, the great Harlem entrepreneur and politician, Percy Sutton coming up in a few....

OK, it's about a week and half later but you know what they say, "better late than...." I would be remiss if I didn't say a couple of words about one of my personal heroes, Mr. Percy Sutton. From the onset, someone ill informed or unenlightened might ask, why the bereavement for an individual closing in on 90 years of age? The simple response-an individual with the class, intelligence, sticktoitiveness and political acumen of a Percy Sutton is still sorely needed in the Black community. I have stated this many times in Afronerd.....we lose are cultural foundation with the passing of such giants-a loss that just appears to be irreplaceable. Sutton was one of those figures that I was introduced to at an early age. I am forever in my father's debt for informing me of key figures in African-American cultural and political history. Irrespective of this blog intermittent conservative bent, I was reared on erstwhile progressive icons such as Adam Clayton Powell, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, W.E.B. Dubois, Frederick Douglass and of course, Mr. Sutton.

It also appears that true renaissance men (and women) are becoming a dying breed. Not only was Sutton well educated (attending a variety of institutions...my alma mater of Hampton University, notwithstanding) but he was able to fit in being a Tuskegee airman, an esteemed attorney (the aforementioned Malcolm X being one of his clients), politician, entrepreneur and media mogul; accomplishments garnered by the time he reached his mid 50s. So I tip my hat to Mr. Sutton and his family, I just wish that some of our youth were more aware of his political significance as opposed to the intricacies of faux "heroes" like Curtis Jackson or Lil' Wayne......sigh. For more information pertaining to the passing of Percy Sutton, check out this excerpt, courtesy of the AP:

The son of a former slave, Percy Sutton became a fixture on 125th Street in Harlem after moving to New York City following his service with the famed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. His Harlem law office, founded in 1953, represented Malcolm X and the slain activist's family for decades.

The consummate politician, Sutton served in the New York State Assembly before taking over as Manhattan borough president in 1966, becoming the highest-ranking black elected official in the state.

Sutton also mounted unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate and mayor of New York, and served as political mentor for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's two presidential races.

Jackson recalled Sutton talking about electing a black president as early as 1972. Sutton was influential in getting his 1984 campaign going, he said.

"He never stopped building bridges and laying the groundwork," Jackson said Sunday. "We are very glad to be the beneficiaries of his work."

In a statement released Saturday night, Gov. David Paterson called Sutton a mentor and "one of New York's and this nation's most influential African-American leaders."

"Percy was fiercely loyal, compassionate and a truly kind soul," Paterson said. "He will be missed but his legacy lives on through the next generations of African-Americans he inspired to pursue and fulfill their own dreams and ambitions."

President Barack Obama called Sutton "a true hero" to African-Americans across the country.

"His life-long dedication to the fight for civil rights and his career as an entrepreneur and public servant made the rise of countless young African-Americans possible," Obama said in a statement.

In 1971, with his brother Oliver, Sutton purchased WLIB-AM, making it the first black-owned radio station in New York City. His Inner City Broadcasting Corp. eventually picked up WBLS-FM, which reigned for years as New York's top-rated radio station, before buying stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and San Antonio between 1978-85.

The Texas purchase marked a homecoming for the suave and sophisticated Sutton, born in San Antonio on Nov. 24, 1920, the youngest of 15 children.

Among Sutton's other endeavors was his purchase and renovation of the famed Apollo Theater when the Harlem landmark's demise appeared imminent.

For the Sutton piece in its entirety, click on the link below:

Percy Sutton, Harlem political pioneer, dies at 89

Ok..We're Back.....Finally! Stop by For a Special Year End Wrap Up Edition (Wed-7pm ET) of The Comic Shoppe-Here's A Preview, Courtesy of Daryll B.!

Again, Again.....please accept our apologies for the lack of entries for the past couple of weeks but there's a lot coming down the pike with interviews and my questioning the pursuit of another advanced degree and add the holidays in the mix.....well you get my drift! But enough with the excuses...stop by the Comic Shoppe tomorrow at 7pm as Daryll, Max and yours truly discuss all things pulp as the decade comes to a close. Feel free to call us "live" at 646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com. See you guys at the shoppe and without further ado, here's a preview/synopsis of tomorrow's discussion thanks to the Comic Shoppe's own Daryll B:

You know, it pretty amazing going back and looking over the past year at what was the best of the best. I go back and see everything I hated on and what looks to be awesome is all that is left. It actually sounds bleak when I phrase it like that but as you will see, I had a method to my madness phrasing my theme like this:

TV Show of the Year: Usually this category would be easy for me but towards the end of the year a lot of good science fiction TV hit the airwaves. As you folks know, I loved the SciFi Channel's Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and Battlestar Galactica. CBS's The Mentalist, USA's Psych, and FOX's Bones all had their moments of strong TV. CW had Supernatural eclipse Smallville as their top fantasy show and ABC had Lost regain its footing while adding V to its schedule and giving Pushing Daisies a proper sendoff. From across the ocean, Hex is the heir apparent to Buffy while Torchwood and Doctor Who continued the British trend of strong sci-fi. For NBC's Heroes, it was an effort to regain its lost momentum as FOX's Dollhouse is trying to finish up strong. Weeding out the candidates I could only choose two shows which stood out as my top pick and runner-up.

NBC's Chuck is flat out funny and week after week it was on I had to make it must watch TV. However, that did not make my top spot; that honor goes to FOX's Fringe. Part X-Files, part Twilight Zone with a dash of The Outer Limits and then a dessert of Firefly's dysfunctional yet strong, family team dynamics. All of that is thrown in each episode of Fringe and in my opinion, it doesn't get muddled. Those who watch for the greater conspiracy are treated faithfully each week to something more enlightening / confusing and those who just want to watch a single episode can watch without getting too confused by the weirdness. Great TV and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can.

Movie of the Year: Again a very varied category when it comes to science fiction. I loved Coraline and Monsters vs Aliens while the Unborn had its moments in the beginning of the year. Drag Me to Hell and Orphan had very genuine scares from territory that I thought was already well mined. Watchmen was nearly picture perfect from the book but as a result went about 15-20 mins too long or else it would be in my top 2. For their limited budgets, Thirst, Paranormal Activity and the Fourth Kind were very decent while for the expansive budgets 2012, Ninja Assassin and Avatar had very lush, semi realistic looking science fiction but again I could only choose 2. In animation, the TMNT franchise had a great crossover and homage to their complete history in the ultimate mash-up. DC had great efforts in Wonder Woman and Green Lantern while Marvel gave me a decent effort in Hulk Vs. Those who had heard the show over the last year already know where I am going with my top two.

My runner-up, Let The Right One In, seemed like any other indie international coming of age teen movie. Love, hate, jealousy, confusion, and angst abound throughout the film except for the fact one of the youngsters is a pretty vicious vampire. Yeah I call this the Anti-Twilight and it definitely had me looking at a few shadows after watching it. Let me tell you that this is so not good when taking the NYC Subways after Midnight to get home. However my top spot had to go to my surprise movie of the year: Star Trek. Before its release, I had such a feeling of dread about watching this as an admitted Trekkie. JJ Abrams and the leaks about major changes angrily scared me to no end. But you know what? It worked. It was fun. And kudos to the crew and actors involved for capturing the old fun of the franchise and putting a new spin on old mythos.

Comic of the Year: A-Ha! Finally a category I think I can feel comfortable with, especially with reading through 60% crap week in week out. The art of making a great comic series consistently seems to be a lost art but the quality crop of books beginning from almost the end of last year on my list ALMOST made up for the aggravation. Getting my own biases out of the way first, I am an admitted Terry Moore fan so I loved his Echo and his run on Runaways for Marvel. Chris Giarusso left Marvel to return to his G-Man roots and did not lose his trademark humor. I was sad to see Jay Faeber end Noble Causes but am loving his Dynamo 5. Boom Comics' Incredibles is incredibly fun and they brought back the Muppets to comics successfully. DC has found something special in Batgirl believe it or not while their Green Lantern franchise can be considered to be carrying the company more than Superman and Batman. Image's founders have reunited but books like Walking Dead, Chew and Phonogram continue to carry the company. Top Cow, Aspen and comics in general lost a great guy in Michael Turner but Fathom surprising has re-found his audience. Marvel is undergoing a Dark Reign and has super powered people running all over the place in its Avengers titles and the X-Men are expatriates now. (bad joke I know.) And unfortunately I would have have Captain Britain and the M13 here if it didn't get canceled. Dynamite has a superstar in the making with Leah Moore and their faithful adaptations of properties like BSG, Zorro, and The Good, Bad, & The Ugly. However I could only go with 2 books for my top spot and as nerve-wracking as it was, I cheated myself and went with 5.

Gail Simone's Secret Six is flat out, consistent fun. These deviants and anti-heroes are must reads every month. That is if I could call Bane an anti-hero. Yep, the guy who broke the bat is on the team and he has depth. But the star here is Rag Doll. He's like the psychotic Spidey from the Marvel Exiles series mixed with Plastic Man. You know it is improper, but you have to see more of his antics. Say what you will about the violence in Image's Invincible, but it may be the best superhero book in pure essence on the stands today. Sure it takes a lot of leeway with the lives of its characters but the storytelling is top notch. Marvel has a gold mine In the Incredible Hercules with its humor and the buddy dynamic of Amadeus Cho with the Lion of Olympus is so good that Marvel made sure to put them on the Mighty Avengers for more exposure.

Alas I could also mention Tiny Titans and Secret Warriors but my heart is now settled on two books. Marvel's Nova has become the spine of the cosmos for the company. He may be their answer to Green Lantern but make no mistake, the everyman spacecop has been amazing to read. To knock him out of the top spot for my book of the year took a book with a golden reputation...and sure enough the character has 'gold' in his name. My book of the year is Booster Gold from DC. Nostalgia combined with time tripping and good old fashioned storytelling made BG a must read every month for me. DC's most over (self) hyped superhero is the one with the most humanity and heart. Go Figure.

So there you have it, my picks for the best of 2009. I am pretty sure you folks will disagree with me on all of these but the important thing is that we have such a varied landscape to have selections from. So until 2010 Fantasy Fans, keep dreaming....and watching....and reading...and fantasizing!
- Daryll B.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just A Few More Ruminations........What Tiger Could Learn From Mariah Carey & Is Ghetto Culture The Only Way To Wealth For People of Color?

I just happened to catch this clip of Mariah Carey's appearance on the new George Lopez late night show and it interesting as to how the subject of race is discussed in a public forum. As much as I always found Lopez humorous, I've never been compelled to ask someone about their racial designation. I've always been able to figure it out on some visceral level but the asking reeks of crudeness-in my opinion. But then there is my "nerdic" side that might also be instrumental in providing an answer (i.e. coloration around the elbows/knuckles; prognathism, national origin, etc)....Again, it can be "figured out." But does it really matter? Ideally, no. But in the real world, once one's race has been determined.....yes.

What's striking is that Ms. Carey has established her comfort level with a Black identity (although her phenotype might confuse some folks) and yet Tiger Woods (with a more phenotypical "Black" appearance) came up with another answer to the race question. Of course, that's his right but I'm wondering how he feels now with the unrelenting media scraping at his cleats. Earlier this evening, I happened to catch a glimpse of the re-airing of a Tiger Woods interview with Larry King (circa 1998) and it was billed as what Woods was like before the scandal. Did Tiger pass away or commit murder? I'm confused....again, I hope Mr. Woods received the same carbon copy email that Ms. Carey received at some point in her career.

And now a brief diatribe pertaining to how the promotion of thuggery and minstrelsy are still being presented as the sole avenue for obtaining minority wealth. I understand that we have a POTUS of color but it still appears that the minstrel industry is still steamrolling ahead as the preeminent aesthetic for young Blacks and Browns who seek material acquisitions. Why isn't it evident that while we are in the midst of a historic presidency, we can no longer allow this imagery to continue without a counterbalance? There seems to be no outcry to show alternative Black culture as a means to success. Perhaps I will address this on the next Afronerd Radio broadcast but I grow wearisome over this truncated depiction. Any thoughts?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sometimes Ignorance Has To Be Highlighted For An Alternate Perspective-2 Cases of Male Restraint

Unfortunately, holiday preparedness and festivities were the cause for tonight's Afronerd Radio preemption but I still would like to squeeze in this tidbit for our readers/radio listeners to chew on. I would be remiss if I didn't give the customary (and appropriate) disclaimer that a man should never put his hands on a woman but these clips certainly would make the casual observer scratch his/her head in befuddlement. And I know what you guys are thinking....does this tangentially relate to the Chris Brown-Rihanna incident that occurred earlier this year? I'm also reminded of the Chris Rock, Bring the Pain routine when he posits that the golden rule of there never being a reason to strike a woman might not be completely accurate. He further stated that there could be a reason to strike just about anyone, hence throwing an elderly man down a flight of stairs. I always added a caveat to Rock's joke by stating that the reason for attacking the elderly person makes sense if he's Adolph Hitler. Again....the paradox centers on a plausible reason. Again, I would never allow myself to get caught up in a Chris Brown style situation but what are your thoughts about these two videos? Will we ever get to a place in our culture where we can tell the complete truth about what can transpire between the sexes? Check out the second video:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Think It's Time To Open Up Hollywood's Accounting Ledger As One Uruguayan Makes a Kick Ass Film Short for $300!! Oh & Afronerd Radio Next Week!

And you thought the last media sensation-Paranormal Activity (allegedly made for approx. 15K) was made on the cheap! Well, I guess neophyte filmmaker, Fede Alvarez didn't get the Paranormal email, as his film short, Ataque de Panico (Panic Attack) was reportedly made for $300. Now what makes this story even more interesting is the twofold process that Alvarez employed to gain notoriety. He first uploaded his film to Youtube which garnered a million plus views. Then he signed a 30 million dollar movie contract (courtesy of Spider-man's Sam Raimi) with Ghost House pictures to produce a full length effort in his native Uruguay and neighboring Argentina. It has been rumored for quite some time that the movie industry's finances have been speculative at best, but when you look at the quality of Mr. Alvarez' film (made for the price of a video game console), it makes one wonder just how much are the budgets really for Tinseltown's most popular CGI laden filmworks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Apologies for the Cancellation of Sunday's Afronerd Radio But There's Always Next Week! Eric Holder Channels Dr. Cosby! I Can Dig It....

I can take the fair share of barbs from those who have a problem with the terms Black and conservative being used in the same sentence but it is frustrating when I have proclaimed on countless occasions that I am not a right wing ideologue. Perhaps the greatest indicator for my positioning would be my support for President Obama and his stance on the need for more fathers of color to address the fractured Black familial institution. Now it appears that the attorney general, Eric Holder has put his Cosby-esque spin on the same subject matter. While visiting his old stomping grounds in Queens (NY), Mr. Holder essentially told a predominantly Black church congregation that the greatest deterrent to poverty would be the active involvement of the father in communities of color. Mr. Holder, I couldn't agree more....here's more on Holder's visit to the big apple, courtesy of Mainjustice.com:

Holder Calls On Black Fathers To Take Responsibility

Attorney General Eric Holder called on absentee black fathers yesterday to take an active role in their children’s lives, Newsday reported today.

Holder, a Queens native and the first black Attorney General, urged the 400 worshippers at the Memorial Presbyterian Church on Baldwin Turnpike in Queens, N.Y., to orchestrate a “spiritual awakening,” according to the New York newspaper. The Attorney General said a father’s involvement in a family can help combat poverty and crime in black neighborhoods, according to Newsday.

“Too many men in the black community have created children and left them to be raised by caring mothers. These women do a wonderful job, but we ask too much of them and too little of our men,” Holder told the congregation, which included members of his family, according to Newsday. “It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child.”

Holder’s comments hearken back to comedian Bill Cosby’s speech before the NAACP in 2004, in which he sparked a national debate by urging African-American fathers to take responsibility for their children. And on Father’s Day 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in whcih he said “too many fathers” are “missing from too many lives and too many homes.”

The nation’s top federal law enforcement official steered clear of domestic policy matters during his speech in the church, Newsday said. But, outside the church, more than 50 people protested his decision to try 9/11 “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspected terrorists in a New York City federal court, according to the newspaper.

Holder met with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and other officials earlier last week to discuss the upcoming trials.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Rush Limbaugh is A Big (Despite the Weight Loss) Fat Idiot., But You Knew That Already! But Did You Know He's Aware of The "Black Frame of Mind?"

I have stated this many times here on Afronerd, I am not a conservative ideologue or apologist. Unfortunately, that does not matter to those few Black folk that insist on ascribing to a wholesale form of cultural and political tribalism. In the case of media pundit and gas bag, Rush Limbaugh, his mixing of racial (and racist) non sequiturs and a belief in the aforesaid Black tribal paradigm, somehow gets called "entertainment" in today's American culture. I support his right to free speech but we must develop an appropriate counterbalance that will cut down his stupidity in order to assuage the power Limbaugh currently engenders. And where is the conservative response, irrespective of race? If you haven't left Osama bin Ladin's cave in the last 24 hours, Limbaugh put his foot in his mouth.......again...by exclaiming that Blacks are disappointed in President Obama by not fulfilling their promises and that Tiger Woods' current indiscretions with an all White female cast just compounds the problem. It's amazing that one can make so much money for spewing ignorance but then that would also explain the popularity of commercial hip hop music. There really needs to be a response to such foolishness but if we're not going to target sponsors or refrain from purchasing products that are affiliated with Limbaugh (and you can include Black minstrels as well), perhaps he should be allowed to propagate such ignorance. What is our saturation point for such unabashed disrespect? When will have enough of the racism and minstrelsy? Perhaps that is the immortal question....

And while you're devising a way to dismantle the Limbaugh media machine, use the latest Sade single as your mood music (I suspect it works as better background music than Drake!)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Italian Groups Are Upset About MTV's Jersey Shore's Stereotyping.......Now Where Are The Black Folks For The Rest Of Viacom's Minstrel Programming?

I have yet to see MTV's Jersey Shore reality show but there appears to be a storm brewing from Italian groups that are critical of the stereotypical depictions being promoted throughout the series. Trust me, I can appreciate the frustration that certain ethnicities might have if one can not see balance in these portrayals. But the protests and anger appear to be having an affect on some level. Here's more on this backlash, courtesy of the NationalPost.com:

A new MTV reality show set to debut on Dec. 3 titled "Jersey Shore" portrays Italian-Americans in a negative light and should be canceled, according to Italian-American organizations. National president of UNICO (a group that aims to promote and enhance the image of Italian Americans) Andre Dimino says he is most upset by the constant usage of the term "guido" to refer to the cast.

"If you replace Italian-Americans with any other ethnic group, would they use such a pejorative term to promote the show?"

UNICO is justifiably upset, as the show intentionally portrays the cast as violent, beach-loving morons who can barely form coherent sentences let alone contribute anything remotely culturally positive to counteract the rampant stereotypes already plaguing New Jersey. Not only does "Jersey Shore" feed into this, it relies on these over-the-top stereotypes to promote a show that has nothing else to offer to its audience.

Yet, isn't that essentially the definition of reality TV these days? It seems this dying TV breed will resort to anything remotely controversial in a desperate attempt to get ratings from brain-dead viewers who happily digest this visual junk food rather than risk inducing a headache from intellectual stimulation. Great, now I'm stereotyping.

Could someone explain why else MTV would offer up three seasons of "Flavor of Love?"

MTV's description of the show says it all:

"MTV has focused its lens on various subcultures and rites of passage, uncovering a host of memorable characters in the process. With its newest series, Jersey Shore, MTV peels back yet a different curtain to follow eight young adults as they move into a summer share to indulge in everything Seaside Heights, New Jersey, one of the most popular summer hot spots, has to offer. Jersey Shore uncovers sometimes surprising, often hilarious and usually over-the-top personalities as they juggle work, love, nightlife, friendship and the drama that ensues. In the end, viewers see that there is more to these tan and buff individuals than hair gel."

Ironically, the above piece alluded to the Flavor of Love, but the question remains....where is the outrage from folks of color regarding MTV/Viacom's promotion of the other neo-minstrel shows? On some level, I believe we have become complacent and lulled into a belief that the Black versions of the Jersey Shore show are appropriate, authentic and inconsequential to the Black image. Again folks, is this much to do about nothing or are we having the mirror being placed in front of us again regarding the need for a more balanced cultural landscape?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ok This is The Last Entry On Tiger's Woes....

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the media really has it in for Mr. Woods. I was jokingly exclaiming during the last Afronerd Radio broadcast that now perhaps is the time for Woods to shore up his Black identity. For the record, I am not as invested in Woods disavowing his multiracial persona because I think there are legions of Black folk that are falling short of affirming a strong cultural connection to what it means to be Black. If one were to pay close attention to how Blackness is oftentimes portrayed in the media, it appears that authenticated Blackness has become synonymous with criminality, failure and disinterest in education. Of course, we know that this is a falsehood as Blackness at its root has more to do with perseverance, excellence, unparalleled spirit and beauty...too bad our current commercial landscape refuses to promulgate these values.

Despite my initial respect and support for Tiger Woods based on his accomplishments and demeanor, his attempt to diminish the realities of being a man of color in a historically White sport should serve as a reminder that no one can ever really escape this racial and socio-political dynamic. I think our President has a clearer understanding that when you break into areas that represent old boy networks, you can never forget your minority positioning and that resentment supersedes any notion of fair play or decorum. It is understood that Woods was dishonorable toward his wife and family but is the daily media assault about legitimate newsworthiness or finally removing a man of color from being the literal face of golf? I'll leave that question up to our readers to decide. Any more thoughts or isn't the beginning and end of this story was Tiger was unfaithful? Nuff said? What say you?

Oh and then there are those who are already questioning whether Tiger should retire....you have to be kidding:

Advice To Tiger Woods: "Retire"

Didn't former President Clinton complete his term despite having the same failings as Woods?

X-mas Comes Early With a 2 for 1 Special! First There's Tuesday's Comic Shoppe Show & Then There's The Latest In Pulp News From Daryll B!

For the entire Venture Bros episode of "The Better Man" click here.

As always, let's keep this simple! Tune in tomorrow at 7pm (ET) for our next Comic Shoppe broadcast, when the "pulp fiction" team of Max, Daryll and yours truly bring light to the following topics: Brad Pitt (as a producer) appears to be re-entering into the ever popular vampire world (hey...we can't forget Interview with the Vampire from '94, can we?) with a flick tentatively titled Vlad; our thoughts on the latest Venture Bros episode; DC is currently developing an alternate continuity graphic novel line, entitled Earth One with stories starting out with Superman and Batman-both stories are being helmed by scribes J. Michael Straczynski and Geoff johns, respectively; how I overlooked Syfy's Sanctuary and is it the small screen version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?; what happened to the Wachowskis' Ninja Assassin at the box office? and lastly, our favorite graphic novel picks from last week. So don't forget to join us live and feel free to call in with your comments and questions at-646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomcishoppe@yahoo.com. And remember folks....Imperius Rex!

The Comic Shoppe's Week in Review

And now.....the latest from the world of pulp thanks to the Comic Shoppe's Daryll B:

Tis the season for people to lose their minds shopping and with other things. Here in my little science fiction world I am no different but I will make every effort to be positive.

(Yes I did say I would TRY to be positive...we'll see how this goes.)

-The good thing about Ninja Assassin is that the fight scenes are tightly done. I can't think of another movie in the last 5 years where the fight scenes were this well done. The rest is "eh" to me....I'll leave up to each person's opinion about it.

-Disney dug their own hole with the hype for the Princess and the Frog. I admire what the "vision" for this film was but I can not phrase it any better than I did on any initial reviews I had for it at a networking site:

"well i saw it over the weekend in a theater in Harlem....and let's just say while the kiddies loved it...the parents and adults were mostly like WTF??? The story is like Beauty and the Beast meets Voodoo and Gumbo....draw whatever conclusion you want from that....after all Disney promoted it as "the first interracial animated feature ever from Disney" and for 3/4ths of the film, they are frogs....nice message.."

Yeah I think you all know where I was going with this one.....

-As much ragging as I have done on DC's Blackest Night, it has gotten the job done. Check out the top book sales for October, 6 of the 10 were BN related and in November wit the ring giveaways I would expect that number to raise.

-*claps* Way to go Marvel...GREAT way to spoil the ending to Captain America Reborn. %^*%^&%^

-Is SyFy kidding with this Outer Space Astronauts thing? However they did score big with the mid-season finale to Stargate Universe and remember Caprica begins in 6 weeks.

-Last two weeks of Heroes have re-found the old magic. However, now that I said that watch the new episodes to follow to be real clunkers.


Just for those people who continue to thumb their noses at the fact of comics being an acceptable form of literature. Don't look at me (although I have been saying it for years), this was done by the University of Illinois. HA!

Book of Week: Last weekend, I went diving into my Graphic Novel chest and discovered my Amalgam trades. These Dc / Marvel mash-ups of fan favorite characters, themes, and histories are just pure fun to read even all these years later. C'mon DC and Marvel, I would love to see a Lobo The Duck, Dark Claw, or Spider-Boy limited series. Would be fun....

Enjoy The Week Fantasy Fans...Next Week I'll hit you all with a Best of 2009 blog....

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Well, We're Probably Going To Discuss The Obvious on Afronerd Radio-Tiger Woods, Your Name vs Your Job, Too Ghetto For College? & Much More!

Afronerd Radio returns after a brief hiatus! Feel free to stop by tonight at 7pm (ET) to listen to the usual suspects discuss the following subjects: the Tiger Woods scandal but from am alternate and conservative perspective (in other words, straight talk); more analysis on a previous entry (below) relating to the Black name vs gainful employment debate. Here's yet another article on the naming issue dating back to '03; I came across and interesting piece from the Black College Wire in which the writer waxes on ghetto proclamations of authenticity on college campuses and lastly, is the Congressional Black Caucus rallying against President Obama for alleged benign neglect toward the African-American community? We implore our readers/radio listeners to call in with your questions and/or comments at 646-915-9620 or via email (or IM)-afronerdradio@yahoo.com.

Afronerd Radio's Week in Review

And while you wait for our special broadcast, check out the latest in world music by way of Ghana....Cadbury Dairy Milk by Zingolo featuring Tinny:

And for more Zingolo, click here.

Ok...just one more indulgence! Check out this "dance contest" between the greats...His Royal Badness, The King of Pop and The Godfather (and Cab Calloway makes an appearance as well)...who wins?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Another Recurring Issue Discussed in Afronerd......Can Your Name Determine Your Job Prospects? Yes! But What Do You Do About It?

This next issue has been a recurring topic of discussion here at Afronerd, since the blog's inception and especially stemming from remarks I made concerning "ghettocentric" names dating back to one of my appearances on NPR's Blogger's Roundtable. Here's a snippet from the NPR broadcast in question:

What's in (an Afrocentric) Name?

And then there's the blog war of words related to that NPR show that took place on the PostBourgie site:

Freakonomics, Tarika Wilson and Afronerd: A Fact-Check, of Sorts

But now, the ethnic sounding name debate goes slightly off tangent as it pertains to qualified job candidates and the 2 to 1 jobless rates between Blacks and Whites. I was reading a recent New York Times piece that told the plight of several well heeled/educated Black (and male) job candidates that felt that their Black sounding names may be a reason why they have received a certain degree of "coolness" from prospective employers. Some went as far as omitting a "questionable" name or just utilizing an initial to give a more Anglicized impression. But I want to make my opinion clear....there's a difference between a post 70s ghetto centered name, an authentic ethnic African name with historical heft/lineage (after all, there was a Barack Sr, born circa 1936 before the junior) and an African-American name.

Is there a difference between Leroy, Masomakali and Ray-quan? I think there are gradations of inference, social status and impressions relating to the aforementioned names. Additionally, I would never state that discriminating solely against an ethnic name is fair but when do we develop a sustainable African-American economic infrastructure that can hire its own people? And I suspect that you still would (and do) have Black employers that will utilize measured scrutiny when it comes down to one's name (i.e. Reggie Jenkins might get a call back before Laquisha Smalls). But let's table this for Sunday's upcoming Afronerd Radio broadcast. In the interim, I want you to chew on the New York Times article as well as this rather eloquent statement left by a commenter responding to the piece:

As someone who has worked now for over four years in predominantly black urban communities where economic disparity, addiction, and violence remain an overwhelming part of the daily reality of children and adults alike, I am left shaking my head at this article.

America, how on earth can we expect Caucasian employers and executives who have not had the interpersonal experience of working with competent colleagues of color to see beyond the culturally-imposed biases of our media? I reference "culture" rather than "race" because the issue is precisely this: if one's impression of "black" is shaped primarily by national advertising, news, and recreational media, one is destined to see BEING black as being party to a culture defined by the glorification of crime, a constant claim to entitlement, moral and monetary frivolity, and an ever-widening achievement gap. With some in our nation continuing to pour billions of dollars into advertising that exults multimillionaire sports stars and expletive-slinging rappers as the champions of black culture, it's no wonder that those whites whose racial sensitivities are based on this kind of woefully lacking portrait of "being black" decide not to call "Jamal" or "Imani" back.

Don't believe me? Ask my first grade students. They are all African-American, and many of their families face serious economic problems. If you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, many boys will say, "Rich, like King [LeBron] James," and several girls would like to be, "A hot star, like Beyonce." Honestly, America, who are we kidding? If this is what a small group of impoverished African-American children see as the parameters of their own cultural reality, what kind of impression can you expect from whites atop major companies who are already many degrees separated from a real encounter with African-Americans and their individual experiences?

Until we decide to challenge the way African-American culture is packaged and presented as a fundamental misrepresentation of what BEING black means for so many, the captains of industry will continue to be shaped by the forces of dollar-hungry marketing and sensationalist media.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Applauding Lincoln University's Efforts-Lose Weight Or Don't Graduate! Perhaps This Can Be Applied to Criminality As well......But I Digress.....

This next story is perhaps the greatest testament to why I no longer ascribe to a wholesale progressive belief system. In simple terms, sometimes drastic measures must be considered to take control of a problem if it disproportionately affects a particular community. I would liken this story to what must be done to wrestle control of many crime ridden cities from the urban terrorists that are attacking their citizenry. It appears the latest rub to garner attention on the web concerns what I consider to be an honorable initiative enacted by administrators from famed HBCU, Lincoln University. It's not exactly a secret that our nation's collective waistline is increasing along with its deficit. And Black/Brown communities have been the hardest hit if you concur with the current stats related to obesity. In an effort to gain control of this grave health issue, Lincoln has essentially developed a course requirement for students with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above.

The course, entitled “Fitness for Life,” must be completed in order to graduate and as expected some students are reluctant because of claims of discrimination or of being "singled out" based on weight concerns. As I alluded to at the beginning of this discourse, sometimes drastic measures are necessary in order to concretely deal with a problem...especially a disproportionate one. I have thought for a long time that if the government were to intervene in addressing some of the criminality and gang warfare that afflicts communities of color, a modified State of Emergency (if not Marshall Law) should be considered. Again, a sense of urgency must be employed to truly protect the innocent residents that have historically dealt with being considered "collateral damage" during violent events. Now Lincoln U is propagating a necessary tool to address another deadly issue and those claiming victim status refuse to comply. For your further edification, check out this excerpt from Examiner.com:

Dr. James DeBoy, chairman of the school's Department of Health and Physical Education, explains that the class involves walking, aerobics, weight training and other physical activities, as well as information on nutrition, stress and sleep. It is considered an easy one unit of credit meeting three hours per week. It requires attendance and participation, but is one which addresses the obesity epidemic which plagues the U.S. presently.

Tiana Lawson, a 21 year old student who hopes to graduate this year, wrote last week in the school’s newspaper she "didn't come to Lincoln to be told that my weight is not in an acceptable range. I came here to get an education."

She told CNN that she had been putting off getting her BMI tested until this year, and recently found out she would have to take the class. While angry at first, she describes herself now as more “confused” about the requirement.

Lawson commented that she felt larger students were being singled out. "If Lincoln truly is concerned about everyone being healthy, then everyone should have to take this gym class, not just people who happen to be bigger,".

All undergraduate students must take a semester class of health, physical education and recreation (HPR) as a part of their core curriculum. The “Fitness for Life” course is added to focus upon the obese individual.

Dr. DeBoy stresses that students are not required to lose weight or lower their BMI. They must only pass the class through attendance and participation.

Obesity increases a person's risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and other ailments. African-Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic whites in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese, the agency said.

And if your not convinced, as many in our community mistake acceptance of obesity as cultural entitlement (if not empowerment), take a look at the toll the human body takes when being overweight goes unanswered.

For the remainder of the Examiner piece, click on the link below:

Students ignore own obesity - may not graduate from Lincoln University

West Coast Rap Fans Protest Local Radio Station Regarding Its Playlist

While taking my daily (and reluctant) jog through various cyber "ghettos"-in this case, WorldStarHipHop.com, I came across the above clip regarding a brewing protest over LA's Power 106. It appears that some West Coast rap fans are dissatisfied with the overwhelmingly commercial (and non West Coast comprised) playlist that 106 is currently promoting. Although I'm not a complete West Coast rap fan (specifically the Gangsta rap genre), I can appreciate the sentiment centered around truncated commercial radio programming. Now the irony is.....too bad this idea can't be expanded to incorporating the need to expose the totality of Black music. As I have often lamented in Afronerd, we are just not allowed to hear alternative Black music. Whether it's West Coast rap, underground/alternative hip hop, jazz and Black Rock/Afro-Punk, the present music business machine would rather you listen to soulless pabulum than expansive musical artistry-it is what it is. But we must fight back, folks! Please take this survey by our recent Afronerd Radio guest, Rob Fields as he attempts to extrapolate who the Black Rock/Urban alternative listening audience is...help us fight the monolith!

BoldAsLove.us-Give me 5 minutes! Take the black rock audience survey

Weighing In On the Tiger Woods Matter..........

Unfortunately, it looks like I'm getting sucked into the Tiger Woods spectacle just like other media outlets, but at least I'd like to think that I can have measured discernment to appropriately view this matter in the proper context. It really is a strange thing when something as inane (and mundane) as a simple family dispute (stemming from alleged marital improprieties, if you believe the National Enquirer) has "celebrity salt" thrown on top of it and then it takes on a life of its own. I'm not going to speculate on whether Elin Nordegren attacked Mr. Woods or if his car accident was the result of foul play. I do know this type of situation occurs frequently amongst lesser known families (aka regular folks or the rest of the non-mutant population) and it's shrugged off and treated as a private occurrence. I'm inclined to agree with recent remarks made by actor/director, Clint Eastwood in which he exclaimed that our nation is becoming more "juvenile." I could could go on and on about the media's quest for the next OJ (with White blonde racial subtexts) or the Black community's hesitancy to truly embrace Tiger because of his usage of the term Cablinasian but I'll leave that for the next Afronerd Radio segment. Meanwhile, let's hear from our readers...what's your consensus on this?

Monday, November 23, 2009

We Didn't Have An Afronerd Radio Broadcast This Sun But There's Always the Comic Shoppe! Tues at 7pm ET

More on the JSA, courtesy of Midtown Comics' Podcast:

Midtown Comics Monday Podcast: Was Superman A Spy?, JSA Smallville

As always, let's keep it tight and simple for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday! Join Daryll, Max and yours truly, tomorrow at 7pm eastern to discuss the following topics: Twilight: New Moon's 140 million dollar take down this past weekend and is the public experiencing vampire sensory overload? ; and speaking of vampires overloading the senses, what about the vamps of the future-The Daybreakers; our favorite iconic comic book panels; thoughts about the new Star Trek reboot DVD release and how it relates to Star Trek: TOS canon and lastly our favorite graphic novel reads from last week. Feel free to give us a call during this "live" broadcast at 646-200-0104 or via emial/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com. And remember....live long and prosper!

The Comic Shoppe's Week in Review

Friday, November 20, 2009

You Don't Have To Wait For Comic Shoppe Tuesdays! Check Out The Latest in Pulp News, Courtesy of Daryll B!

Hi once again Afronerd readers, it is Daryll B. writing to you once again about things sci-fi and fantasy in nature. I am typing from a theater in New York prepping to see an early showing of Ninja Assassin. I'm stoked for this even though I am in a "gore dislike" mode recently. What turned me to actually want to go out and see this? It is penned by J. Michael Straczynski and I found out the one of the major stars in it is Korean action films star Rain, who stole every scene he was in during that so-so Speed Racer remake. Yeah I am that easily swayed.

-The Weekly Crisis comic review website did an in-depth analysis of Marvel's digital distribution plan across different platforms that I encourage you all to check out. Nothing will ever replace the feel of an actual comic book in my hands, but it seems that Marvel is serious about going to the next step with their digital library. http://www.weeklycrisis.com/2009/11/digital-comics-done-right.html

-At Comic Book Reources, writer Paul Jenkins has an article called "Flogging a Dead Horse." This week he posted an amusing tale about him, his son and a couple of soldiers going to a comic book convention. Very funny and it does show that within the business there is still heart. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=23771

-Wow. Crazy excitement over New Moon. Who would have guessed? Still not gonna watch this in theaters for fear of being trampled by old ladies and teenage girls. However Newsarama has an interesting article lining up Twilight Universe dynamic vs a certain comicbook school filled with amazing students.

-Holy Cash Grab Superman! Did we really need to include Superbaby Prime in this Blackest Night thing???? As if I wasn't pissed with you enough DC. What bearing does this have on the big picture? Although I will say the Jerry Ordway art is always a treat to look at.

-Speaking of Cash Grabs, raise your hands if a) you went to a fast food place to grab a movie tie in b) picked up a comic just to get a Blackest Night ring or c) picked up a comic just because a certain wise cracking Merc For Hire was going to make a 2 page appearance within it? (Max I looking at you man!) LOL

-2012 was decent for what it was...shallow dialogue but great special effects. I only hope that when this situation actually happens, humans are smarter than their movie counterparts.

Book of the Week:I picked the 4th treasury of Pearls Before Swine Pearls Sells Out and let me tell you, no other comic strip visualizes my sarcasm at the world quite like Rat does here. Kids will love the "cuteness" of the characters, adults will talk about the greater meaning of the text.

Enjoy Your Week Readers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Comic Shoppe Show, Mon at 7pm ET! Discussing the "Kick Ass" & JLA Animated Trailers, Punisher Continuity, Ninja Assassin & More!

As always....time to keep matters succinct! Join the Comic Shoppe crew tomorrow at 7pm eastern as we bring our pulp analytical skills to shed light on the following topics: our impressions of the Kick Ass and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths trailers; the latest Punisher vs Kingpin vehicle and just how old is Frank Castle anyway; expectations for the Wachowski's Ninja Assassin film; just how good is Dick Grayson's Batman impression? and lastly our favorite graphic novel reads from last week. You know what to do! Call us "live" at 646-200-0104 or leave comments/questions via email or IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com. And remember, Be There, Be Square and Be Aware....it might just save your life!

The Comic Shoppe's Week in Review

And while we're on Ninja Assassin...here's a clip:

Leave It To Glenn Beck To Host A Forum For Black Conservatives.....I Like, I Like!

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this past weekend Glenn Beck hosted a forum for Black Conservatives entitled, Friday The 13th Nightmare for Liberals: Black Conservatives. And I was even more surprised that my colleague in the struggle, Robin Martin aka Conservative Black Woman also made an appearance. I have mentioned on occasion that I am no fan of Glenn Beck. And yes, this alternate community conversation took place at the infamous Fox studios. But believe it or not, I do not agree with all conservatives-you can chalk that up to being a free thinker and not simply a conservative ideologue.

But it was quite refreshing to hear a different discourse among folks of color that debunks the perception that the entire Black community is invested in a grievance honed political agenda. However, I must point out one misstep. I cringed (as I often do) when a person of color laments about being teased for speaking "White." Perhaps the more appropriate phraseology should be speaking "standard English." The last time I checked, Whites do not have a stranglehold on employing proper diction. The "speaking White" dilemma is also reminiscent of the almost knee jerk colloquialism that some Blacks employ when describing a White woman as a "lady."

Describing someone who heretofore is unknown, ascribes an indirect value judgment to a person who may be unworthy. Or maybe we need to have the same instant decorum with minority women....ahem, ladies-but I digress. And lastly, I must also give my kudos to fellow blogger, Field Negro who albeit stands on the progressive side of the aisle, called for greater respect to be given to Black Conservatives by affirming that diverging views should be expressed without using "tom" pejoratives. Now if we can have a more permanent media outlet to speak truth to power.....now that would be something....

For more of this special Beck broadcast, click on the links below...the fourth one has the Conservative Black Woman appearance:

Glenn Beck Special On Black Conservatives- Part 2

Glenn Beck Special On Black Conservatives- Part 3

Glenn Beck Special On Black Conservatives- Part 4

Oh and check out this addendum clip (thanks to our resident supporter Fred for hipping us to another unshackled Black person) of Mr. Alfonzo Rachel. Oh and he kicks it HARD!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tonight's The Night! Stop By Afronerd Radio at 7pm-Black Rock Musicianship, Politics, Pop Culture & Race Issues

Find more videos like this on Afro-punk

Apologies go out to our readers, radio listeners and general supporters for our taking a reprieve from blogging for the past few days but sometimes a break is required in order to rejuvenate (no not like Mr. Sosa!!) the senses. So again, we're back and ready to "chop and mix it up" on the airwaves this evening at 7pm eastern. We have a scheduled interview with alternative/Rock artist, Tamar-Kali(Brown) but I received word from her publicist that she is in the midst of traveling and performing this weekend so, we'll have to play it by ear as to her making the appearance. If she's not able to make it, we're assured that we can always reschedule.

Nevertheless, we implore our NY-tri state area readers to support her November 21st show entitled, Cabaret Chocolat: An Autumn Night’s Soiree. Please check out the previous entry for information pertaining to Ms. Kali-Brown's upcoming performance. But much like any other cabaret show, our Afronerd Radio broadcast must go on!

So feel free to drop by during the live broadcast with your questions and comments by calling 646-915-9620 as we discuss the following: racism rears its ugly head.....again, regarding Chinese "netizens" foisting racial epitaphs at young Blasian perfomer, Lou Jing; Can President Obama lend some support to Jing during his trip to Asia?; more fallout over last weekend's limited release of Precious; additional fallout from baseball great, Sammy Sosa's complexion turnaround; and lastly former Hootie, Darius Rucker wins best new artist at this year's Country Music Award (the 2nd African-American to do so). Now for our overture before the broadcast, check out this clip of China's Lou Jing:

Afronerd Radio Interviews Afropunk Songstress, Tamar-Kali!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Afronerd Radio Preview-AfroPunk Songstress, Tamar-kali Pays A Visit To Afronerd Radio, Sun at 7pm ET

Hold on to your wigs, folks! The great Tamar-kali has a scheduled tete a tete with Afronerd Radio to discuss her latest musical endeavor, Cabaret Chocolat: An Autumn Night’s Soiree. Ms. Kali's Chocolat opens November 21st, and is being presented by way of Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies. Here's an excerpt from Harlem One Stop describing Ms. Kali's upcoming performance:

Tamar-Kali and her all-female Psychochamber Ensemble are joined by special guests, including The Main Attraction, Monstah Black, Keibpoli, Master of Ceremony “Marco the Magician,” and a rare solo performance by chanteuse-accordioniste Marni Rice. The evening begins with an open bar mixer, followed by a theatrical night of serenades, burlesque, and illusion.

So set your calendars for this Sunday at 7pm as we "chop it up" with Ms. Kali delving into her show, new cd and history with the Afropunk scene. And on an unrelated note, check out Mr. Sergio Mims waxing on the new Precious film on Bloomberg TV:

Sergio Mims discussing Precious on Bloomberg TV

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bringing This Clip Out of the Comment Section & Into the Main Foyer-Stanley Crouch's Words of Wisdom

Although I think Mr. Crouch missed a step with his adulation of the Precious film, he was dead on target regarding hip hop artist 50 cent and his ilk. I do think that Crouch should take a look at this clip because one could easily superimpose Precious for Mr. Curtis Jackson-I'm just sayin'.

And check out more from Mr. Crouch unplugged. Notice how he begins this discourse by highlighting the variants within the Black experience. We have to fight the monolith, folks! Enjoy!

Ok...It's Back To Comics Tuesday! Check For Comic Shoppe radio at 7pm ET & The Latest in Pop Cultue News, Courtesy of Daryll B.!

We unfortunately did not air last week's Comic Shoppe show but let's try to make up for lost time with tomorrow's episode. Join Daryll, Max and yours truly as we bring our special brand of pulp analysis to the following topics: a discussion centered on our most memorable graphic novel story lines-i.e. death of Gwen Stacy, the marriage of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, etc; thoughts about the upcoming release of Twilight: New Moon and the female comic-con fandom attached to it; J.J. Abrams has been picked to direct a Micronauts film; comparisons between Smallville and The Vampire Diaries; an academic is pushing for comics in the classroom and lastly, our favorite graphic novel reads from last week. So stop by with your questions/comments and reach us live at-646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com. And as always....Imperius Rex, ladies and gentlemen!

The Comic Shoppe's Week in Review

And next up, submitted for your reading pleasure, the latest in pulp/fantasy news by way of the Comic Shoppe's own Daryll B:

So where do I go from here?

There are times in a comic book fan's life when he looks at his collection and wonders: "Am I collecting this because I love the book or because I am just completing my set?"

That moment has come for me with several books folks. X-Men, Teen Titans, Avengers, Batman, etc. your titles are on notice for this is one comic reader that is tired of shelling out big bucks for little return. And people wonder why more people don't read these things. Whether it is inconsistent art to incomprehensible plots to creators that don't give two bits (you know I could have said something else there!) about loyal fanbases who purchase their stories. Cut the crap comic companies and go back to consistently producing quality!

Quick Hits

While I liked Astro Boy in the theaters, I can see where major changes were made to the concept. The fact that major audiences in Japan walked out of Astro Boy showings out of disgust makes twice now that a major animated movie import from there was walked out on by core fans. If I am handling the Akira, Avatar The Last Airbender and Voltron live adaptations, I would pay close attention to this trend.

I am not a fan of Twilight as you know, but the marketing of New Moon is being done right. Play up the action scenes to lure back the supernatural fans that were alienated before. Will this work? Time will only tell but kudos to them for the effort.

Interesting tweaks to the new V series. They got me hooked for a few more episodes and got to love the veteran science fiction actors / actresses sprinkled all through the show. I know someone has already got a drinking game made up for this.

Underrated by my coverage, but week in week out Supernatural continues to be the quality that all other sci-fi shows on TV needs to be measured to. If you told me that a show on the CW would be the best in its genre 5 years ago and it wasn't Smallville, I would have called you a liar. But here I am now saying it.

The Road vs The Book of Eli; we have another Armageddon vs Deep Impact fight on our hands folks.

Heroes this week, with Hero and Charlie, reminded me about why I fell in love with the show at the beginning and unfortunately it also reminded me that these quality episodes for the series are the exception now, instead of the rule.

Recommendation For The Week

On the verge of Veterans Day here in America, I just have to say reflect on the sacrifices our soldiers have made for the country they serve. You might not agree with their actions all the time or reasons they are in conflict. But most serve the country with pride and the Fort Hood tragedy / disgrace brought the point home for me once again. I have a lot of former brothers and sisters at arms who are tied to Fort Hood in one way or another and my thoughts are with them.

To that end, my recommendation is DC's The New Frontier Absolute Edition or the original dual paperbacks. The heroism shown by the soldiers throughout the prose should be a beacon of hope and pride to all who read it.

That's it for me this week folks as I begin to watch my Yankees prepare for their parade down the Canyon of Heroes. Until next week sci-fi fans, Keep Fantasizing!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sorry For The Preemption-Afronerd Radio Returns Next Sun.....For Now A Few Observations & Oh Yeah A Centenarian Buys a Camaro!

Usually I'm not one for absolute speculation, but has anyone taken a look at retired baseball great, Sammy Sosa lately? The latest (and lighter) photo was taken at a recent Latin Grammys ceremony and all I can say is.....Didn't he get the memo from Mr. Jackson's demise this summer? Wow. Allegedly Sosa stated that the bright lights and his recent skin rejuvenation treatments caused this change in his complexion. I guess 300 plus years of Western indoctrination (and colonization) really is sticking with some us in this new millennium. And on that note, I guess Chris Rock's Good Hair should be doing well at the box office.

And just when I was thinking I should move on from a diatribe centered on alleged African-American racial/cultural insecurity, I'm reminded that Lee Daniels' epic, Precious was released this weekend. Afronerd reader and film critic, Sergio Mims forwarded an email to our attention a few days ago, linking an alternate review (from critic Armond White) that encapsulated my thoughts to the "t" regarding this film. I've stated my thoughts about this film on Afronerd Radio as well as the blog but I must confess, that I am gratified that someone else also noticed that this film, despite the growing Oscar buzz, may be deleterious to African American imagery. Here's a few words from White's piece, courtesy of the NY Press:

Not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious. Full of brazenly racist clich├ęs (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show. Offering racist hysteria masquerading as social sensitivity, it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.

The hype for Precious indicates a culture-wide willingness to accept particular ethnic stereotypes as a way of maintaining status quo film values. Excellent recent films with black themes—Next Day Air, Cadillac Records, Meet Dave, Norbit, Little Man, Akeelah and the Bee, First Sunday, The Ladykillers, Marci X, Palindromes, Mr. 3000, even back to the great Beloved (also produced by Oprah)—have been ignored by the mainstream media and serious film culture while this carnival of black degradation gets celebrated. It’s a strange combination of liberal guilt and condescension.

Birth of a Nation glorified the rise of the Ku Klux Klan as a panicky subculture’s solution to social change. Precious hyperbolizes the class misery of our nation’s left-behinds—not the post- Rapture reprobates of Christianity’s last-days theories, but the Obama-era unreachables—including Precious’ Benetton-esque assortment of remedial school classmates. One explanation is that Precious permits a cultural version of that 1960s political controversy “benign neglect”—its agreed-upon selection of the most pathetic racial images and social catastrophes helps to normalize the circumstances of poverty and abandon that will never change or be resolved.You can think: Precious is just how those people are (although Cops and the Jerry Springer and Maury Povich shows offer enough evidence that white folks live low, too).

My sentiments exactly, Mr. White. I've had my fill of Black ghetto pathos on the silver screen-there are other stories to tell. Which reminds me.....I finally got the chance to see what all the hoopla was about pertaining to the vampire themed film, Twilight. Never let it be said that Twilight is the new Dracula or that lead actor, Robert Pattinson is a young Bela Lugosi, but it does remind the viewer (of color, specifically) that there is a severe dearth of diverse minority characterization in current cinema. Can you imagine a romantic (and expensive) horror flick with a majority Black/Brown cast that wouldn't be played for laughs? Or as I once posited, A Black Harry Potter-esque film, with its own unique mythos? Perchance to dream....anyway, feel free to check out the remainder of the White article by clicking on the link below:

Pride & Precious

And lastly, I thought that this next clip solidly proves that age really is just a number. While some seniors who may actually be 30 years this gentleman's junior complain about the difficulties and challenges of being advanced in age, others are buying brand new camaros:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

CNN Posits.....Is The Obama Effect Trickling Down To The General Image of Men of Color?

Somehow how I missed Don Lemon's CNN Special, Black Men in the Age of President Obama however, thanks to cyberspace, I'm never completely out of the fold. Although I have great appeal for CNN's coverage of current events, at times the famed news outlet has missed the mark on certain permutations within the African-American community. Nevertheless, I thought Lemon's piece was quite profound but short on enlightenment.

Perhaps the breakout voices during this broadcast were educator, Steve Perry and entrepreneur, Farrah Gray. The voice that was unnecessary? DJ Drama. His appearance/fashion sense reminds me of a question I asked our recent Afronerd Radio guest, Michaela Angela Davis-when does Hip Hop class up its act? Although Jazz music is highly revered today, we must remember that it's origins date back to the brothels of New Orleans, yesterday. Lemon's panelists were visually polished and therefore could be taken seriously....not so much for the hip hop representative. And as I have stated on countless occasions, I am a supporter and purchaser of hip hop music, I would just like to see some betterment. Let's hear your thoughts on this special? Click on the link below, for the remaining segments of the broadcast:

Black Men in the Age of President Obama

Monday, November 02, 2009

And Now A Pop Culture Week in Review Moment From The Comic Shoppe's Daryll B!

Hiya Afronerd readers, once again I am back with some fantasy / sci-fi observations:

I told you folks about Trauma. Bye bye! The good news is that Chuck's new season episode tally has been increased by 6 or 7 episodes. (newsarama)

This Smallville season has really split its fanbase more than any other season. So much so that one of its producers put up a twitter poll in conjunction with a EW.com one to ask the fans directly what they want. In brighter news, Michael Shanks did a great interview with the Huffington Post talking about wearing the wings and carrying a mace. So yes sci-fi fans, we are getting Hawkman in look as well as spirit...um spirits....you know what I mean. (newsarama)

If you haven't been watching Venture Bros. folks, start. Omigosh my eyes are still watery from last night's episode which was a total ripoff from a Treehouse of Horror, Heavy Metal and The Shining .

If I see anymore scenes from 2012 on TV and on trailers I think I will have seen the whole movie. So far I am not impressed.

Sigh, I can't believe I am saying this but I got a chance to catch up on Star Wars: The Clone Wars
of the weekend and it's good. Those who have heard me, have heard my rants against the show before, but these bounty hunters and the action sequences are quite entertaining.

Comic Book Resources has a very interesting interview with Tyrese Gibson about comics and the digital market involving his book Mayhem. While I don't like the book personally, I can't lie, Gibson makes some valid points of the state of the industry. I give him credit, I thought he was in it for the money only. He has given this idea a lot of thought.

Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin in the Thor movie? Sign me up for that!

V debuts on Tuesday and while I still have misgivings about the project, I will be tuning in.

3 words: Transformers. Ongoing. Comic. It is about time IDW. Thank You.

Marc Gugghenheim off of FlashForward already? David Goyer is going to run the show solo? I'd feel better about this if I didn't know that Goyer's last show solo was Spike's version of Blade. The show crumbled under the weight of melodrama before the last 2 episodes saved it. That is before Spike said screw it to renewing it. I'm praying for FlashForward in other words.

Saw The Vampire's Assistant and while it isn't Twilight, it has its own moments to make someone facepalm themselves. At least I get Selma Hayek as a supernatural creature again. However how appropriate is it really that in a theater with a LOT of little kids around, when she was on the screen I could only think of From Dusk Til Dawn ? Yeah you folks know the scene.....

Thanks for reading folks and until next week: Keep Fantasizing!