I thought about being coy with the post title, but once you watch the clip below you'll see why blunt force was best. Most folks who've been around the block a few times will admit a random but good roll in the sheets can lead any sane, rational human being to momentarily get caught up in the sex haze (shout out to Carrie Bradshaw).
However, to our cable access hostess, getting down with the get down can also be a world-shattering spiritual revelation. One's that's apparently powerful enough to make you slap somebody or shoot them in the face. An extreme view? You decide.
On another note, judging from the zeal with which this buttoned-up woman talks about sex, I bet she shags like a minx. Watch below.
Obama's new attack ad uses Mitt Romney's now infamous comments about the 47 percent while showing images of families, workers and veterans. It's notable that aside from giving his approval at the video's beginning, the president doesn't say a word. But when the dialogue is this damning, silence is golden. Watch below.
A little warning...plot points are revealed below, so if you're spoiler sensitive, don't read on.
Ryan Murphy's ears must be psychic. Clearly they anticipated the scorching they would be forced to endure over all the tongue-clicking and keyboard clatter that The New Normal was shall we say, lacking in color. Last night episode "Obama Mama" tackled politics and race, but only time will tell if the latter becomes a permanent part of the show or simply a "see we're diverse!" one-off.
It all started when a discussion about politics evolved into one about the politics of race. After learning Bryan and David tried to sway Goldie towards team Obama, Grandma Nana charges into their house and tells them mind their own business--all while spouting the obligatory anti-gay quips of course. Nana gets the last tee hee hee though when she says the boys are hypocrites for being pro-Obama liberals while not having any black friends themselves; of course her digs about Kwanzaa and the homies prove she does hold racist views, but that's, you know, the whole point of her un-PC character, so movin' on.
Bryan gives much eye-roll as he tries to prove he and David are progressive gays, which for him means inviting Rocky and what he assumes are a bevy of sistahs to an impromptu soiree. People making assumptions seemed to be a running theme; Bryan assumed Rocky only had black friends; Bryan and David assume since Goldie was a teen mom she knows zilch about prenatal care or nutrition; everyone assuming Rocky's brother Clint is a Democrat because he's black; Goldie assuming since she moved she has more control over her life.
But back to lecture at hand. Things get more cringe-worthy when Bryan procures "the help" in this case a waiter/actor, to pose as a longtime friend to deceive Nana. Though he does get points for encouraging him to pose as upper crust and not go ghetto/90's era Law & Order like said waiter/actor originally planned (another assumption on the waiter/actor's part). And speaking of The Help, nice chocolate pie reference from Rocky to Grandma Nana. While I would still prefer an actual actress, I will concede Nene's...Neneness was toned down in this episode.
The dinner party quickly becomes a political debate, also driving home the episode's other point that the personal is political. Grandma Nana nails this when she goes on a rant about taking away her daughter's, a.k.a Goldie's mom's, choice to have an abortion as way for her to learn personal responsibility. The bitch may be bigoted, but she's consistent and real about it. Of course, one could argue that her daughter's choice to have an abortion would be a responsible act, but you know Nana doesn't wanna hear that hogwash.
Things only get worse when Goldie bails after Nana puts her business about her crumbling marriage on front street. Not the best thing for the cute guy you've been flirting with all night (Clint) to find out. Later on she reveals her soon to be ex-husband is suing her for custody and Shania has to go back to Ohio; this could be a very interesting plot twist, being that she's pregnant with two dudes' baby and all. Her ex could probably raise the argument an unfit mom, carrying a child for the gays and all. But the lesson for this week is diversity, which Bryan and David start to grasp after they meet an interracial couple and bond over being expectant parents. After which the interracial couple walks away, thrilled they can add two queens their circle.
And that's all folks. It was nice to see Bryan and David make a real connection with the couple rather than get away with their ruse of a party. Though like I said at the beginning, only time will tell if non-white characters other than Nene play a larger role in the series. Amir would be a good start, since he's been part of the cast from the beginning.
While watching this, another thought came to mind: are we as black/minority viewers hypocrites? I mean, we call out shows like Friends or Will & Grace or The New Normal for not showing black characters, but how many major white characters were/are there on The Cosby Show, A Different World,Girlfriends, Martin, Let's Stay Together or the multitude of Tyler Perry projects? Are we holding up an unfair double standard? Or should the level of diversity be held by a show to show basis?
After all the only black faces you saw on the first seasons of Mad Men were maids, bathroom attendants and janitors. But since the show focuses on a certain group of people in a specific era (i.e. upper class white folks in the sixties) it made sense, given their social status and age, that Don or Betty wouldn't be interacting much with black people. I'd love to see Dawn have a bigger role in season six; but I don't want to see some wack, forced interaction like Don going to a sit-in with her or Megan suddenly getting an urge to hang out with her in Harlem. It has to be organic.
Meanwhile, Breaking Bad has featured black, Latino and Asian characters at various points since the series started. Which makes sense, given that crime draws all types of people, and Walter is dealing with major Mexican cartels and such. Now whether you like seeing blacks, Asians and Latinos portrayed as players in the meth game is whole other can of worms.
What do you think? Watch the episode below and Discuss.
"I was punished for taking that role [in Punks]. Equally applauded and parodied...I still believe you do a role because it will change someone’s life. Regardless of the stones that are thrown, I did it with no regrets. I am an artist."
Two new videos have blown a hole in the stereotype that men and women in uniform are intolerant of LGBT folks. First up is a new ad by volunteer firefighters in Maine for Mainers United for Marriage. Featuring three straight firefighters and one gay one, the men talk about their support of each other and marriage equality. "These guys are all straight,” says Michel in the spot. “So when I joined the department, I wondered how a brotherhood so tight like that would be accepting of someone who is gay.” Shea says, “The brotherhood that we have is not the straight fireman’s brotherhood. It’s the firemen’s brotherhood.” Watch the video below.
Further down south (or next door if you're Louisiana resident like moi:), the Austin Police Department has filmed an Its Gets Better video. The clip contains the coming out stories of both officers and department personnel.
"I didn't want to call myself gay because gay meant you' re broken," one officer remembers. Another was afraid being gay might stop him from becoming an officer. One woman cries as she remembers being told that being gay "is very biblically wrong and I don't want to see you go to hell."
Good news from the Sunshine state. South Florida's Broward County School District has decided to recognize October's LGBT History Month, making it the first school district in the nation to do so. The decision is part of an effort to reduce bullying on campus. Broward teachers will also be encouraged to profile exemplary LGBT role models.
"It helps if we teach our students the meaningful contributions of a variety of people and that way those people aren't other people, they're all of us," school board member Maureen Dinnen told the Sun-Sentinel.
Take time out to read Chelsea Grimes' warm, heartfelt Advocate piece today. It details her struggle to with school officials who she says failed to do something about the bullying her son, 17-year-old Dynasty Young, faced daily for being gay.
"Like any parent, I turned to school administrators—the people who are expected to protect our children when they’re not in our homes, providing a nurturing and safe environment," Grimes said. I never expected for school leaders to turn the table, blaming my son for the harassment because they thought the way he dressed was too flamboyant and even suggested that he change everything that’s beautiful about him to avoid being the target of hate."
Grimes has since enrolled Dynasty in a charter school and filed a federal suit against the school district for their inaction. She also had a message for other LGBT youth.
"If there’s one thing I want for my kids—and every other lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender young person—to know, it’s this: You’re beautiful as you are, and never let anyone make you believe otherwise."
Lifetime network has unveiled the first glimpse of Lindsay Lohan's turn as late screen idol Elizabeth Taylor in the upcoming biopic Liz & Dick. I might hate myself a little for typing this sentence, but after viewing the clip I'm actually.....intrigued. Don't mistake my intrigue for delusion; I'm not enraptured enough with what I saw to think this is Emmy-worthy. But at worst, it could provide some lazy afternoon and/or late night so-bad-it's-good melodrama to revel in. Watch it below.
The legendary Freddie Mercury would have turned 66 this month, so it's only fitting the rock icon's legacy be celebrated with the release of Hungarian Rhapsody: Live in Budapest '86.
According to The Advocate, the documentary, which hits theaters today, "chronicles Queen's journey from their epic performance at Live Aid in 1985, through their subsequent Magic Tour, which ended with the first Western stadium rock concert staged in Budapest, which at the time lay behind the Iron Curtain."
The concert film will feature many of band's hits, including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "I Want To Break Free," and "We Are The Champions." Watch the trailer below.
I've had a so-so attitude towards NBC's The New Normal since it debuted. While some of the dialogue is sharp and funny, the lead characters Bryan and David seem to embody every aspect of the stereotypical rich, white gay couple, right down to the sassy black employee (i.e. Nene playing...well, Nene; I mean I'm half expecting Dwight to pop out of her shoulder and quip "How dreadful").
Bryan in particular is pretty vacuous and obsessed with the usual queenly things--fashion, shopping, hot men, working out, etc. And although Grandma Nana provides some chuckles, I think we can all agree Ryan Murphy just shoved Sue Sylvester into some suits and a throwback Hilary Clinton cut (think her pageboy phase) when he created her character. However, Goldie and her daughter Bebe do bring some heart/reality to the show.
All that being said, last night's episode "Baby Clothes" manage to wade away a little from the shallow end of the emo pool. Bryan and David show a bit of depth after encountering a homophobe in the department store, and even Nana has a "real" moment with Goldie after catching Bebe with a boy. There was also a nice little twist on the time-honored "standing up to the grown-up bully" scenario.
What are your thoughts on The New Normal? Watch the episode below.
Actor Rupert Everett is coming under fire for comments he made in an interview for London's Sunday Times,saying "I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.” Everett went on to say he agreed with his mother--who wishes he a wife and children of his own despite meeting his boyfriend--that kids "need a mother and a father."
“I’m not speaking on behalf of the gay community,” he added. “In fact, I don’t feel like I’m part of any ‘community.’ The only community I belong to is humanity and we’ve got too many children on the planet, so it’s good not to have more.”
Sigh. Remember the days when Rupert was fabulous, witty and progressive, blazing a trail by being an out gay actor and all? Chile she hasn't been the same since Madonna kicked that behind to the curb.
Here's a little skin to spice up your Friday afternoon. Retired rugby star and straight ally Ben Cohen shot a provocative photo shoot for his 2013 calendar. Proceeds from the calendar will go toward his LGBT anti-bullying charity Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation.
"I had a great following in the gay community so I started breaking down those stereotypes when I was still playing rugby," Cohen told the U.K.'s Gay Times. "And it got to a point where I decided I wanted to do something more, which is when we set up the foundation. But I didn’t realize how powerful retiring for a cause would be.”
Frank Ocean covers the latest issue of The Advocate. While the Ocean himself isn't interviewed, the impact of his much-discussed Tumblr post, in which the R&B crooner revealed his first love was a man, his subsequent coming out and the current mainstream success of his album Channel Orange are discussed.
Industry insiders, media personality/blogger Gyant and artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, straight ally Murs, openly gay rappers Deadlee and Tim'm West, and rap icon MC Lyte are all quoted for the piece. Ebony Utley, an assistant communications studies professor at California State University, makes an astute observation that while Ocean's pronouncement is significant, there has still yet to be an openly gay mainstream rap artist.
“Frank Ocean is an R&B singer," Utley said. "Let’s be clear, hip-hop hasn’t had its first openly gay artist. No rapper has come out. Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.”
Another interesting observation: while hip-hip heavyweights Jay-Z and 50 Cent have voiced their support, some contacted by The Advocate for comment--B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Trey Songz, Jaheim, Wiz Khalifa, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj--declined or said they were unavailable for comment. In the case of Lupe, it's strange someone who is so opinionated on so many subjects and who cites James Baldwin as a major influence would pass up the chance to throw in his two cents on such a relevant topic. As for Latifah and the rest, ya'll figure out that tea.
We are somebody indeed. Rev. Jesse Jackson recently said that if asked, he'd have no problem marrying a gay couple.
“Beginning with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the inclusion of blacks, Hispanics, 18-year-olds, and women, opportunities are now unlimited,” Jackson said to Human Events during last week's Democratic National Convention. Jackson added that he had “no problem with that relationship — (couples of the same gender marrying).” Jackson, who has been more outspoken on the subject of LGBT rights as of late, has compared the struggle for marriage equality to the federal protection given to other civil rights. "If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote," he said. "If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote."
"I am not surprised that members of the Log Cabin Republicans are offended by my comparing them to Uncle Tom. They are no more offended than I am by their campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect the candidate and party who diametrically oppose our rights against a president who has forcefully and effectively supported our rights."
Read the full piece HERE.
Almost two weeks ago, I went over to my parents' house for what I thought would be a regular visit with the usual innocuous chit chat about work, church activities and the latest happenings in the world. Little did I know they had other plans...
It started off simple and subtle enough; my mother asked if my former music teacher had gotten in touch with me about an opening for a church musician. I said she did, but I told her I wasn't interested, for reasons I've gone into great detail about on this blog. "Why?" my dad asked with a tongue both curious and holding its own answer at its tip. Having felt I already explained myself to them on this front, and wanting to head off any potential confrontation, I said something along the lines of "I need time away," or "I'm just not interested in playing for anyone."
My mother brought up how the job could bring in more cash, which I countered by saying I'd just gotten a freelance gig, which led to more probing by the both of them about how much my boyfriend was contributing to the household. It was something they'd brought up before, as I will admit that we've struggle a bit money-wise; but no doubt the topic had resurfaced this time due to a bad car battery and neither of us having enough coin on us to replace it (damn those AutoZone prorates), being that a big chunk of the income had gone to other repairs earlier that week.
After a few more minutes of deflecting and defending, my dad brought up the real issue: he felt I was being ungrateful or disrespectful because he didn't hear me say "thank you" for paying for the battery (for the record I did) and that my boyfriend--who was in the car at the time--was being disrespectful by not speaking to him.
A warm sensation, like the first embers of a crackling fire, began to burn in the pit of my stomach as I thought about how he wouldn't even look in my boyfriend's direction as we walked into the store or even acknowledge his presence at any point from the moment he drove into the parking to the moment when we drove off. I called him out on it, saying how could he expect him to break his neck to say hi when he basically banned him from ever coming to their home without so much as a meet and greet the day I officially came out two years ago.
"Because I'm an elder," he said, sitting forward in his favorite recliner (anyone whose from the South probably knows elder means "the adult," but just to clarify for everyone else). He went on to say how he's helping him out by allowing him to drive a car that's in his name, with my mother chiming in that if they really wanted to be "evil' or "nasty," they'd ban him from driving or having anything to with the car altogether.
All fair points, but the more they kept talking about how I'd become so distant, the angrier I felt myself getting. My chest constricted more and more, as if my organs were being chopped up and consumed like kindling for the bonfire now raging inside me, an ironic result for someone who was being accused of being so cold. Leaning forward on the couch now and wrestling with keeping my voice steady, I tried to explain to my dad how ignoring my man the previous day and acting like he didn't exist in general, had upset me and him at certain points. Instead he leaned back and nodded, showing no regret; he might've even let off a few "that's rights," but my frustration was making my ears malfunction.
"How do we explain this to the rest of the family?" he said, acting like I'd just uttered the words "I'm gay" two minutes instead of two years ago, causing me to snap "I don't care." "How do we explain that?" he said, pointing to the ring on my finger. "Do we just say this is your significant other?"
"Yes," I shot back. "You don't have to explain it. I can do it!" To which he shook his head and said he wasn't ready "for all that." I reached for some compromise, saying the four of us--my parents, the BF and me--could just meet at their house instead, but was still met with no. Working to cool things down, my mother tried to explain how having a gay son in a serious relationship was still new to them, that if they saw the two of us together then it became "real," and the fact they were even delving into my relationship more was a sign of progress.
All I can say is I'm glad I kept my mouth shut, because my thoughts weren't anything nice. You're able to talk to your gay son about him being gay after years of silence and treating my man's name like it was a vicious viral plague or it was Voldemort? Wow that's great. Maybe after ten years we can sit down and watch Will & Grace reruns together. I softened a bit when my dad said he'd cried almost every night the first month after I came out . He isn't the type to shed tears, so I knew it was something serious for him to admit.
Though when my mother said they've only been dealing with my sexuality directly for two years but have been taught/believed certain things about it for over fifty, and it would take more time, my smart-ass instincts got the better of me. "So when you're in your eighties and I'm fifty-something you might be ready to meet him then?" My dad's face contorted in anger as he leaped from the recliner and began shouting to my mother about my "smart alec" attitude, pacing as he said I was intolerant when it came to listening to their point of view.
Things didn't get any better when talk turned to my atheism. I was told my decision not to be a church musician anymore was like turning my back on how I was raised, and that I should least go back to church and "try" again--try meaning to both believe in Jesus and maybe get delivered from being gay. "Shit. What the hell is it about this they don't understand?" I thought. I clasped my hands together to keep from pounding my fists on the coffee table, and calmly but firmly explained that just as I would never attend a racist church, I would never attend an anti-gay one.
That got the ball rolling, and the next thing I knew, we were talking about heaven and hell, DL men, homophobic preachers, how said preachers have to preach against homosexuality just like other "sins," whether or not America was a "Christian nation," that'd strayed from its roots, the way the bible justifies and has been used to justify horrible behavior, and a litany of other subjects.
At this point my mother jumped in again, saying I shouldn't allow rejection from people to make me hate or reject God. It was the same incorrect link between my sexuality and non-belief she'd made the first time I broke it down for her, so I tried again, explaining how the whole "pray the gay away" mentality screws people up. My dad popped up again from the couch again, walking into the kitchen before walking back in and saying I'd let blogs and intellectuals corrupt and brainwash me, and that "this isn't how I was raised. It was a remark that pissed me off more than all the others. It was the same thing he'd said to me every time I'd done or said, or in this case, been something he didn't agree with, be it right or wrong.
All I can remember next is my mother repeating "peace" over and over again as we went for another round of back and forth. He plopped back in his recliner, gazing at me with an inscrutable stare as I ranted about how I hating having to pretend to be single at family functions, how the BF had let me totally into his life and I couldn't return the favor, the havoc the whole arrangement had sometimes wreaked on my relationship.
"I don't see what's so hard about this," I said, rubbing my forehead as I held my head in my hands. I felt exhausted, and, as is rare for me when I'm riled up, speechless. Finally, my dad conceded he could do better in dealing with the situation, while my mother said they were really trying, making baby steps, and things would get better. Apologies and pledges to improve things were made all around, and the visit ended on a happier note.
However, that night, after talking things out with the BF, I realized the whole incident--from the call about car trouble to the next day's argument--was a near deja vu of the days that preceded and followed my initial coming out. I also came to the conclusion that while our previous conversation had been helpful in getting both the general truth and our true feelings out in the open, it hadn't produced any significant change in the way we interacted with each other.
After the high emotions and accusations died down, things continued in the same cycle: they treated me as if I was a single straight dude, and I was so hesitant to push the issue for fear it would it crack the foundation of our shaky relationship I kept everything but the most trivial aspects of my life close to the vest. As such we fell back into old patterns.
It is this realization that makes me afraid. That as much as I try to put myself in their shoes and remember that way of thinking, and remind myself that a decade ago I believed and felt the same way about my sexuality as they did, that it won't be enough. That as much as they say don't hate the BF and they'll inquire more about him and our relationship--which, to their credit, they did during my last visit--it won't be enough for me. That their words are just that--words--and the minute I cross an invisible line by revealing too much I'll be pushed back with an uncomfortable silence. I'm afraid I'll be too afraid to reveal more of myself. I'm afraid I'll grow impatient, and that that impatience will grow into resentment, then cynicism and grim resignation that causes me to pull away again in frustration at the futility of trying to have an open, mature relationship with my parents.
Most of all, I'm afraid I'll be writing another post like this, retreading the same old shit, in two years. And that the three of us will keep on going in circles...
Mary J. Blige's My Life is one of my all-time favorite albums. In my opinion, it's a heart-wrenching emotional odyssey that explores the many shades, both light and dark (moreso dark), of romance.
From the rapturous desire of "You Bring Me Joy" and "I Never Wanna Live Without You," the anger and confusion of "Be With You" and "Mary's Joint," the sadness and desperation of "I'm Goin Down" and "I Love You" to the pleas for understanding and trust--both from a partner ("I'm The Only Woman," "You Gotta Believe") and from oneself ("My Life," "Be Happy") every facet of love and relationships is explored with punch-you-in-the-gut honesty.
Musically it offers everything--the quiet storm, the bedroom, the club/house party, riding in your car or even cleaning up the house. Meanwhile, the combination of old-school soul samples and hard-edge hip hop beats creates a sound that is both a modern re-imagining and an homage to tradition. All of which makes My Life one of the greatest R&B albums ever. If you disagree, then gird your loins and meet me in the comments section. Or if you agree, then meet me there and we can swap geeky MJB fan stories.
Anywho, one of my favorite tracks on the album is "Mary Jane (All Night Long)." One of My Life's few "happy" songs--though judging from the "I don't wanna fuss and fight/I just wanna make it right" lines, any lovin' Mary was getting at the time was more the exception than the rule--it melds Teddy Pendergrass's "Close The Door" and The Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long" to create a sexy, sensual vibe.
So color me surprised when I find that Mary and Puffy dropped a remix featuring some lip-licking rhymes by LL Cool J. Granted it's not a radical reworking--just a few dreamy synthesizers are added to the mix--but LL's verses provide an answer for what was originally a one-sided plea for affection. Listen to it below.
Baltimore's City Paper has an excellent, if somber, article about four young transwomen, their transition process and their experiences in sex work. One of those profiled, 24-year-old Bambi, talks about the perils of dealing with violent clients--she was robbed multiple times--and the police:
“The cops are assholes. Fucking assholes. You meet a nice one every 5,000 years,” she says. “You’d think there would be more black officers in a largely black city. But they import these racist Anglo-Saxon cops from West Virginia who act like we’re not even citizens. ‘You’re not only a derelict negroid,’” she mimics a cop, “ ‘But a derelict negroid with a dick and a dress. What the fuck is wrong with you?’”
Bambi says she was arrested once while waiting for a bus on North Avenue at 7 A.M. “I suck dick for a living, but I wasn’t working then,” she says. “My real crime was being transgender on North Avenue. When they brought me into booking, everything stopped and they looked at me like I was a Martian. The female officer tried to be nice and get me a holding cell by myself, but the males said ‘Oh no, Beyonce don’t need a cell by himself.’ I was like, thanks for the compliment, but you know damn well I do.”
Hmmm, looks like President Obama and the Democrats are bringing out the big guns. A top Obama campaign official has confirmed with The Huffington Post that this week's Democratic National Convention will feature multiple employees of companies controlled by Mitt Romney's private equity firm Bain Capital.
"The speakers are slated to discuss the business practices of the private equity world, likely in order to call into the question the conduct of Romney's former firm while he was CEO. Employees at companies controlled or managed by Bain during Romney's tenure have already had star turns in the campaign, both in Obama campaign conference calls and in television ads run by the campaign and its allied super PAC, Priorities USA Action."
A Michigan has plead guilty to a federal hate crime charge after he punched another man in the face because he believed he was gay. According to The Advocate:
On March 7, 2011, Everett Dwayne Avery, 36, struck Justin Alesna, 23 in the face while the two were customers at a Detroit convenience store. Alesna was standing in line behind Avery, who told Alesna he was standing too close. Alesna backed up, but Avery continued hurling antigay slurs at Alesna. After Alesna purchased his cigarettes, he tried to leave the store, where Avery again confronted him with epithets and allegedly showed Alesna the gun he was carrying. Avery then punched Alesna in the face, fracturing his eye socket and inducing other facial injuries. Alesna filmed a video recounting the attack, his wounds still clearly visible on-screen. In that video, Alesna alleges that bystanders, including store employees, did nothing to intervene and even laughed during the attack. Alesna said that when he asked the store clerk to call the police, the clerk refused and told Avery to "Kill it, bro."
Avery faces up to ten years in prison, and his sentencing is scheduled for November 28. Watch the video below.