Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adam Silver did the right thing, but he's no hero

So NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brought the hammer down on Donald Sterling. Boycotts were averted and we can all get back to enjoying the NBA playoffs, right? I guess, but while I understand why everyone is applauding Adam Silver, let's not forget that he was former NBA Commissioner David Stern's deputy. He's been with the NBA since 1992, so he's known about Sterling's ugly racist ways for a loooonnnnggg time. He bears a certain amount of responsibility for this mess. 

Let's not forget that Chris Paul, the key to the Clippers recent success, originally wanted to play for the Lakers, but couldn't because David Stern forced Paul to the Clippers, essentially rewarding Sterling's deplorable behavior.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Silver took a hard line against Sterling, but heaping all this praise on him still doesn't feel quite right given his long tenure with the NBA. Oh, and if the NBA is successful in forcing Sterling to sell the team, he'll make at least $575 million, if not A LOT more, so forgive me if I don't rejoice about a truly awful human being making an enormous return on investment. Yeah, this still all feels kinda off to me, but I'm glad something was finally done.

Also, if you think Sterling's racism just impacts basketball, allow ESPN's Bomani Jones to disabuse of that notion. In this radio segment, Bomani breaks it down to the WHITE MEAT why Sterling's housing discrimination cases are far more sinister. 

Yes, the awful, gross racist is gone, so to speak, but if this is a victory, it rings hollow. What's more important is what happens moving forward.

Stay random,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Donald Sterling is awful and so are the LA Clippers

UPDATE: So the Clippers took the subtle route today in taking a stand against their racist owner after supposedly nixing the idea of any kind of protest because they didn't want to look like radicals.
I'm still calling weak sauce on this and here's why:

Everybody (President Obama, Lebron and even Michael Jordan) is rightfully condemning LA Clippers owner and legendary racist Donald "Massa Epps" Sterling for his latest bigoted ramblings and the NBA for tolerating his history of hatefulness. But you know who else deserves some scorn? The men who play for the LA Clippers, especially Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, as well as their coach, Doc Rivers.

Why the scorn for the players who just seem to be caught in the cross hairs? Because they had an opportunity to stand against Sterling's vitriol and send a message to the NBA and the world that people like Donald Sterling have no place in the NBA in 2014. A stand by the Clippers could have been the catalyst for removing the cancer that Donald Sterling is and always will be from ownership of the team. They could have boycotted the game they're playing today against the Golden State Warriors, but according to various reports and interviews with Clips coach Doc Rivers, that idea was quickly dismissed during a team meeting when the story broke on Friday night. It's not like the NBA couldn't reschedule a game or two, but the players gave the NBA a pass, the same league that put Sterling in a position of power in the first place. All the Clippers want to do is play basketball.

I'm sorry, but just wanting to keep your head down and play basketball is the mentality of a child, and the last time I checked, the Clippers roster is composed of men in the their 20s and 30s. By not using their collective power to affect positive change for their team and the NBA, the Clippers have basically said that as long as they get their millions and the Larry O'Brien trophy, nothing else matters, not dignity, not self-respect, not being able to look their children in the eye and say that daddy thought about more than just himself when he had the opportunity. Without protests, boycotts, civil disobedience, etc., the Civil Rights Movement wouldn't have happened, and I shudder to think where we would be without it. However, I guess the Clippers missed those lessons in school because all they want to do is play basketball.

The picture above has been making the rounds recently and while tragically funny, it also takes on a new meaning, at least for me, when I digest this ridiculous situation: At least Solomon wanted to be free from Massa Epps. It's hard to read the Clippers' feelings about their plantation owner.

Stay random,

Back in the day

Monday, April 21, 2014

Scandal Indeed: Thoughts on Season 3 and Sociopathic Popes

So another Scandal season has come and gone, and I don't know about you, but I'm feeling some kind of way about and not necessarily a warm and fuzzy way. Let's get into it, shall we?

Return of the Mack

In previous Scandal seasons, Olivia was a professional badass fixer even though she was a hot mess in her personal life (You know, having an affair with the president will do that to a girl). In three seasons we went from "It's handled," to "I thought it was handled, but it wasn't and now I've created an even bigger mess." I rebuke this weak, confused, unsure Olivia and beg Shonda Rhimes to fix this (see what I did there) because this Olivia is asking for a "snap out it" slap and a channel change if she doesn't get her ish together.

Remember when Olivia did her job and did it well? Remember when she fixed things for folks other than Fitz and his needy, selfish behind? Bring back new clients and the Olivia we know and love. Fix it Jesus!

Parents Just Don't Understand...That Murder Isn't Always the Answer

It must be very, uh....interesting to have parents who who kill people unnecessarily to protect you and give you what you think you want. However, then you have to admit your parents are sociopaths and that's a bit of a sticky wicket.

Papa and Mama Pope (bravo Joe Morton and Khandi Alexander!) were not here for Fitz treating their daughter like a used dishrag, so they joined forces to teach Fitz that there's a price for a free and fair election and to get him away from their daughter. All they had to do was blow up a few things and kill some folks, including Fitz's oldest son (or brother, depending on who you believe) on national TV on the eve of the election. After all, in Papa Pope's world "He took my child so I took his," is a totally reasonable rationale. Oh, and let's not forget Papa Pope also wasn't having it when Fitz took his other "child," B613, when he made Jake Command, so Papa Pope had to let everyone know who was really in charge. Ladies and gentlemen, when someone tells you, "I am the hell and the high water," believe them.

Is Olitz Over?

One of the major bright spots in the season 3 finale was the pumping of brakes on Olivia and Fitz's torturous love affair, or as the kids call them, Olitz. In the beginning these two had so much passion and chemistry that it was hard not root for them despite all the adultery. However, as the seasons rolled on, we got to see Fitz in all his awfulness and the havoc it was wreaking on Olivia. That, and the fact that Mellie became a lot more sympathetic this season , the Olitz relationship drama just got tedious and frustrating. 

Now that Olivia has left D.C. to stand in the sun with Jake, let's hope that we won't have to hear anything about Fitz and Liv making jam in Vermont for a looonnnggg time. These two need a break. Not the D.Wade/Ludacris have a baby with another broad type of break, but a significant time out is definitely in order.

Quinn. Gotta. Die. (But Harrison will probably be the one)

Confession time: I've NEVER liked the Quinn character. She was annoying and stupid when she didn't know her name was Lindsey and she hasn't changed during her time with B613 and her return (?) to Pope & Associates. She's like the bothersome little gnat that you just can't kill no matter  how many times you clap your hands in the air. Oh, and let's not forget those gross sex scenes with Huck. Lawd. Now that Quinn has located Huck's ridiculously attractive family, one can only hope that Quinn has outlived her usefulness and will go be annoying somewhere else.

RIP Harrison...Maybe?
And while we're talking about characters that may or  may not bite the big one, let's look at the situation with ya boy Harrison. I concur with other folks who say that the season finale was written the way it was for a reason. Shonda and co. probably didn't intend to kill him off, but with Columbus Short acting a MONKEY FOOL, it looks like Shonda gave herself room to ax his character if he doesn't deal with his demons.

I really need these Black actors to get it together. Have we learned nothing from Isaiah Washington or Gary Dourdan, two actors who screwed up the best TV jobs they were ever going to have for some mess (Isaiah's case was a little different, but you get my point)? I learned from it, and I'm not an actor. On the real, Columbus needs help and hopefully he'll get it before he hurts himself or someone else. 

Anywho, that's my rant about Scandal, and I'm sticking to it. While enjoyable at times, this season strayed from a winning formula, and one can only hope that Queen Shonda realizes this and gets back to basics.

Stay random,


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Love and Basketball, Character Assassination and Football

What do Colin Kaepernick and DeSean Jackson have in common? Oh, just a little character assassination that will color the public perception of both men for the foreseeable future.

By now you've heard that CK, along with fellow 49er Quitton Patton and Seahawk player (and former 49er) Ricardo Lockette are being investigated for a "suspicious incident" in Miami that involved a young woman partying with the players, possibly getting high and drunk, supposedly making out with Kaepernick and waking up in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there. Scary and serious stuff to be sure. While there still isn't a complete picture of what happened, new reports show that Lockette called police twice because the woman refused to leave and that CK probably wasn't there when all this confusing craziness went down. Furthermore, the woman maintained in her incident report that she did NOT have sex with Kaepernick.

Unfortunately this little fact didn't stop the sleaziness that is TMZ (no, I’m not linking to their mess for obvious reasons) and other media outlets, including ESPN, from running with a sexual assault angle in the initial reporting. When I first heard about story, I cringed because I didn't want a player that I liked to be another Big Ben or Darren Sharper, football players who have been accused of and/or charged with sexual misconduct and sexually assaulting multiple women. However, I waited before jumping to conclusions, and I'm glad I did. As more information starts to trickle out, it looks like no sexual assault took place and that CK, in particular, did nothing wrong.

While this is good news and all, I'm still annoyed. Thanks to the interwebs, from now on whenever you google Colin Kaepernick this story will come up or be mentioned in other stories. This is remarkably unfair given how connected we all are by social media, a sticky web where a whisper can blow up in a matter of minutes and destroy livelihoods and reputations, whether deserved or not. This is especially true in the case of rape or sexual assault, because once it's out there, true or false, you can't unring that bell. Case in point: Just the idea that CK was involved in something suspect is messing with his money.

Now let's talk about DeSean Jackson. Even though Jackson had one of his best seasons statistically in 2013, the Eagles cut him in March, and he subsequently signed with Washington. In fact, Jackson was cut less than an hour after a story revealing his association with gang members and the LAPD’s efforts to reach out to him about gang-related murders since 2010. Jackson was never a suspect or person of interest, police said, but he was connected to people involved and police wanted to interview him. The Eagles were all too happy to let their concerns about Jackson’s “gang ties” bleed into the gang banger media narrative, and the rest is history. Bell rung.  While some have speculated that he was cut because of friction with the new coach Chip Kelly and a diva-like attitude in the locker room, it’s not hard to see the gang story having an impact.   

So, why is Jackson hanging with gang bangers? Because he grew with some of those guys and they were there for him after the death of his father. Whether right or wrong, he considers some of these people his friends, and it’s hard for some folks to cut people loose even after they’ve “made it.” DeSean is not in a gang and has said he distances himself from people doing “negative things.” He hasn’t been charged, arrested or accused of anything normally associated with gang culture. However, in the court of public opinion, he’s guilty solely because of association, and that association most likely cost him his job with the Eagles and earned him unwarranted infamy.

What's my point? If you haven't already realized it, I'm a Black woman and see some things through a racial lens, and I make no apology for that. Through this lens I see the criminalization of Black male athletes because they dare to be young, gifted and Black. You can also see this play out in attempts to paint Colin as the swaggering bad boy Negro to Russell Wilson’s choir boy good Negro, offensive ideas that do a disservice to both men. For Jackson, it's the assumption of criminal activity based only on association rather than evidence. It’s unfair, maddening and totally racial.

Would media outlets and others have been so quick to jump to conclusions if CK and DJ were white? Would people have been so quick to call Richard Sherman a thug if he were a white Stanford grad instead of a Black dreadlocked one? I think we all know the answers to these questions. Welcome to post-racial America.

Media, a word of advice: Not all Black people, including athletes, are criminals. Next time try a little less character assassination and click baiting and a little more reporting next time, OK? Thanks.  

Stay random,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keeping up with Kimye, Jay Z and Gatsby will be the death of us all

I meant to write about this insane "save the date" video earlier, but reasons and life got in the way. Anywho, can we talk about this for a minute? I think we need to because this is just screaming for some type of discussion.

Epic Save The Date {Bambo + Janice} from Major Diamond Productions on Vimeo.

Meet Bambo Obaro and Janice Jentz, two "high-profile" San Francisco attorneys. I don't know these people from a can of paint (yes I'm old; Gen X stand up!). I saw this video on another site and since then it's gone viral, obviously. Apparently movie trailer "save-the-date" vids are what's hot in the streets. Cutesy "save the date" cards featuring engaged couples in all their photo shoot glory is so passé.

When I first saw this I tried to convince myself that these two just have an extreme sense of humor, and this video is just an  expensive, well-produced expression of that. Nope, doesn't seem that way.

Based on the video description from Major Diamond Productions (because who else would you hire to shoot this, Minor Cubic Zirconia Productions? I think not.), these two love the Jay Z, ballerific version of all things Gatsby, throw lavish parties and may be kind of a big deal in the Bay. If these two really fancy themselves to be the Bay Area version of Kim and Kanye as this video suggests...oh lawd.

I firmly believe that this "Look at me!!" culture is why we can't have nice things and why the aliens will have no problem taking over the planet because we'll be too busy Instagram flexing and taking selfies.

Some people think this video is cute, clever and creative. Call me crazy, but I don't get happy couple excited about in joining in holy matrimony from this, but rather something that starts with nar- and ends with -cissism. Sound familiar? Here's a visual in case you forgot what narcissism looks like.

Yeah, maybe I'm being judgmental and unfair, but wedding announcements are supposed to make you feel warm and fuzzy, but this one just made me feel icky. What say you? Creative and clever or Kimye wannabees?

Holla at ya girl and stay random,