Well, it's official: my twenties are over (well, not quite--I was born at 12:25 p.m.! Mama is holding to her youth as long she can!) It's been an eventful decade to say the least, one filled with emotional ups and downs, many of which I've chronicled here. And while I don't feel like I've "arrived," at where I am supposed to be in all areas in my life (though the older I get, the more I realize the concept of arriving at a fixed, ideal destination is a goalpost that keeps getting pushed further and further back) my head does feel like a straighter on my shoulders than it did a decade ago.
But enough with the introspection. It's a celebration bitches! And with that said, I'd like to present my "Dirty Thirty" playlist, designed to take all my 80's and 90's babies back down memory lane like Minnie Riperton. Or, in the spirit of the playlist, like Nas, who sampled "Memory Lane" on "Illmatic." Know ya' 90's hip hop! Anyway, get into the playlist below:
Remember when The Rock--ahem, excuse me, Dwayne Johnson, potential 2020 presidential candidate--was the wrestling heel you loved to love? My how the mighty fine have come up. I see you Dwayne;). Get into a few more gifs after the jump.
My debut as a blogger started in the aftermath of one historic election--the 2008 election of Barack Obama--so it seems it only makes sense I'd fire off a post the day after another election that, in my humble opinion, will be historic for all the wrong reasons.
So Donald Trump is president. I can live with that. He won his party's nomination, he campaigned, we went to the polls, and these are the results. I'm obviously disappointed, but like it or not, this is democracy at work.
However, what is still leaving a taste in my mouth more bitter than a black jelly bean and olive shake is the way he won the presidency. It all started with the Donald dipping his toe into the brown lake that was/is the birther movement.
As I said at the time, Trump knew this would be red meat to much of the ravenous, racist far right base and threw it to them. But little did we know this was the first of many offenses, which at this point, are so numerous it's hard to keep track. There was, of course, his delightful comments about Mexicans, his insidious insinuations about the capability of the judge handling his Trump University lawsuit due to his Mexican heritage, as well as his fondness for building walls. Not one to bogart his douchebaggery, Trump soon set his xenophobic sights on Muslims, proposing a ban as fantastical as that fucking wall, and insulting the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier.
And course, Trump's always had a thing for the ladies, whether it's blaming Megan Kelly's knack for asking relevant questions on supposedly having her period, suggesting women accusing him of sexual assault were too unattractive to assault or calling Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman (HRC if ya nasty!"), And we all know what he likes to do to women after he pops a mint or two. Oh, and I did I mention he wants to bring back Stop and Frisk? Because Trump is all about speaking directly to the black community, addressing our concerns and making a strong case for why the GOP is the party for us. In rooms almost entirely packed with white people.
Look, I don't need or expect politicians to be perfect. Contrary to whatever Illuminati theory is popping this week, they are people, and as such, are subject to carrying short-sighted views and prejudices like the rest of us. Gaffes and "what did he/she say?" moments are expected.
The difference between her and Trump--between him and any other recent politician really--is his complete and utter lack of fucks to give. I'm hard pressed to think of another modern-day presidential candidate so comfortable in his arrogance, his ignorance, his willingness to offend and alienate, in his lack of self-awareness, and be so willing to make these and other qualities the hallmark of his campaign. Yes, Trump tapped into some genuine anger and mistrust of the establishment and concerns about the direction of America. But he did so by actively alienating millions of other Americans, many of whom look nothing like the core constituency he and his team were hell bent on courting. And that, all sarcasm aside, just fucking sucks. Nearly all politicians play a little dirty, but Donald Trump metaphorically rolled around in shit for the last 18 months to earn a seat in the Oval Office.
I'll end this far from succinct rant by saying Trump's acceptance speech last night was gracious toward Hillary Clinton and her supporters, as much of an olive branch he's extended to the other side.
That said, we've seen candidate Trump. Who President Trump is remains to be seen. So pop that popcorn kids...it's showtime!
For the finale to a superb freshman season, Atlanta's season finale "The Jacket," revels in some of the series' familiar absurdity while bringing things home on a more grounded, emotional note.
We first happen upon Earn being awakened by slightly irritated homeowner, who places was laid waste to by trip. We're talking trash all over the living room floor and a trash can sit on fire. Yeah, it was of those nights, one that included a trip to the strip club and rapping along to early 00's hits like Nelly's "Ride Wit' Me" and J.Lo's "I'm Real" remix, Ja Rule mumble and all. As the aforementioned acquaintance tells Earn in no uncertain terms to step in a variety of ways ("It's like I know ya'll, but I don't know ya'll, kno' what I mean?"), he realizes he can't find a jacket he had on the night before. Alfred, who left hours ago, is no help, so Earn, after scoring a free chicken sandwich, travels back to the strip club to search for it.
It's pretty much common knowledge that strip clubs are to the ATL what brunch/lunch spots are everywhere else--meaning people literally go to strip clubs in Atlanta to eat lunch, so its no surprise the bar is open in the middle of the day. Earn unsuccessfully tries to get the bouncer with kicking in that $10 cover charge, and though he makes a contact with a chill, ambitious stripper (and possible future video girl--Mama made sure Earn had those digits before he left!), he's no closer to finding his jacket.
Joining Alfred and Darius on their beloved outdoor couch--which, come to think of it, now reminds me of Nickelodeon's SNICK couch from back in the gap--Earn expresses a little remorse for how they destroyed ol' boy's house, while Alfred's in his usual "fuck it" mode, saying he doesn't even remember last night, though he did managed to document it via Snapchat.
"This rap shit is all about appearances," Alfred says, as he and Darius agree it's time start perfecting the art of stunting to give the image of success. After seeing him be so conflicted and unhappy in his role as rapper, it is nice to see Alfred feeling more comfortable in his celebrity. Hopefully no more homes will have to suffer for the good vibes to continue, but hey, that's why renters' insurance exists.
After getting off the phone, Earn explains he'll have to cough up 50 bucks for Uber driver Fidel to bring him his jacket, but instead manages to convince Alfred to drive him by Fidel's house. While their "negro stakeout," Earn gets call from rapper Senator K asking if Alfred will join him on tour. Things are looking up for Paperboi! Alfred's too on edge to absorb the good news though; thinking something is off with the whole scenario, he starts drive off when the jump out boys do what they do best, descending on them seemingly out of thin air with guns drawn, asking if they were attempting to buy weapons or drugs from Fidel. Apparently F Money was involved in shit far more nefarious than lifting bomber jackets from drunk customers.
Just then, Fidel appears and tries to make a run for it before getting lit up with bullets and collapsing in his front yard. Undeterred by the fact a dead man wearing his bomber and his body barely dipped to room temperature, Earn walks up to one of the officers and awkwardly asks him to check the jacket's pockets to find whatever had him pressed enough to embark on this journey in first place, but no luck.
Once back at Alfred's, Darius retires inside to prepare for a night of weirdness (he swallowed the two blunts he had on him in the jump out boy panic) and Alfred tosses Earn a roll of bills, his first real money made a manager. "You did good," Alfred tells him, and the two share a look that really makes you feel their bond goes beyond opportunistic cousin and hustling rapper. We've seen Earn stumble so much in trying to push Alfred's career forward, at times to his cousin's vocal exasperation, that it's nice to see under all the bickering and World Star Hip Hop situations they manage to become ensnared in that each one appreciates the other.
Earn goes home to Van and his daughter, and after getting back what he thought was lost in his jacket, a key, he gives Van some of his Paperboi money and tells her he'll come by tomorrow. Walking to a storage place, he takes the key to unlock one of the garages and lays down on a bed, then turns off the light.
Earn may be still technically homeless, but judging from the look of focused calm on his face, he finally appears to be finding a direction. It's fitting the last musical choice for Altanta's inaugural season would be Outkast's "Elevators," from their sophomore release ATLiens. Like that classic release, this has been a deeply strange, southern, profoundly creative black experience.