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Why I Don’t Like Today’s Article in the Washington Post Express on Mike Epps

I read the Washington Post Express a lot in the mornings.  It’s got just the right mix of pithy entertainment and actual journalism.  Well, today I was in for a real Post-Racial treat.

I don’t know who you are, Roxana Hadadi, but I’ve got to tell you that I think your article to day on Mike Epps was terrible and had some serious problems.  Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • You mention a story where 2 movie reviewers at a screening for “Resident Evil: Extinction” think that Omar Epps is the movie instead of Mike.  That played into the “All black people look alike” myth.  You note that they are cousins.  That’s no excuse.  They look Nothing alike.  Nothing.  Omar doesn’t even do comedy.You even say, “…Epps is inevitably the guy you immediately laugh at– even though you may first mistake him for his more dramatic relative”.  Huh?  I’m sorry, no one is mixing those two brothers up.
  • The title of this article “Familiar Stranger” made me think of “stranger danger”.  So is this black man scary, like a stranger?
  • You say that he takes stereotypes about the “funny brother” and “drop-kicks them back in your face, making them absurdly believable wile also hysterically humorous”.  Basically your saying that he does the stereotype so well that it’s hysterical.  How can you flip something but then end up being the embodiment of it?
  • You move on to Epps’s role in “The Hangover”: “Oh, and those comments on roofies — “Just the other day, me and my boy was wondering why they even call them roofies. … Why not floories, right? Cuz when you take them, you’re more likely to end up on the floor than the roof” – may be horribly inappropriate, but they’re also guiltily funny. They’re not as divisive or controversial as the kind of stuff fellow comedians-turned-actors Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have said, but in a way, Epps — who performs Saturday at DAR Constitution Hall — has a goofy, universal appeal that rivals Rock’s and Chappelle’s natural charisma.”

    First of all, are you saying that it’s not controversial to make fun of roofies?  It’s the damn date rape drug!  Then you call two very intellectual Black comedians “divisive”.  I really, really would love to hear your explanation for the use of that word.  What do you find divisive about Rock and Chappelle.  Perhaps their jokes about race and race relations?  Divisive is a whole lot of things in this “Post-Racial” world, huh?  Question: Would you call Richard Pryor divisive as well?  You say Epps has a universal appeal, but I think Rock and Chappelle are even more universal in their appeal.  Of course all of this is just my opinion.  Roxanna, you are entitled to yours as well, I just think you’re off.Also you mention Epps’s joke about getting money from white friends and never having to pay it back.  Isn’t that a divisive joke?

I dont’ understand where you were going with this article, Roxana. It seems a bit, well…divisive.

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Reverse Racism?: White Comics on joking about Obama

MAUREEN DOWD did a wonderful piece recently for the NY Times about the challenge some white comedians and comic writers are facing when coming up with jokes and jabs about Barack Obama.  I was wondering just what monologue writers were going to do myself.  With so many of the people behind the pens being white and the public being well aware of that, it’s no surprise that there is increased sensitivity.  Who want’s to be labeled a racist?  Who hasn’t learned from the infamous New Yorker cover that satire is in the eye of the beholder?

I have a suggestion.  Hire some black writers.  That will do away with the double standard.  Black people have been trashing each other through comedy routines for decades…but we do it in love.  I mean, we have limits too, of course.  However, we know what a fine line there is between meaningless mockery and comedy.

My favorite quotes from the article:

– “It seems like a President Obama would be harder to make fun of than these guys,” I said.

“Are you kidding me?” Stewart scoffed.

Then he and Colbert both said at the same time: “His dad was a goat-herder!”

– Many of the late-night comics and their writers — nearly all white — now admit to The New York Times’s Bill Carter that because of race and because there is nothing “buffoonish” about Obama — and because many in their audiences are intoxicated by him and resistant to seeing him skewered — he has not been flayed by the sort of ridicule that diminished Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.

“There’s a weird reverse racism going on,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

– On Tuesday, Andy Borowitz satirized on that subject. He said that Obama, sympathetic to comics’ attempts to find jokes to make about him, had put out a list of official ones, including this:

“A traveling salesman knocks on the door of a farmhouse, and much to his surprise, Barack Obama answers the door. The salesman says, ‘I was expecting the farmer’s daughter.’ Barack Obama replies, ‘She’s not here. The farm was foreclosed on because of subprime loans that are making a mockery of the American dream.’ ”

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Were Black women in support of R. Kelly during the trial?

Here’s part of a recent Newsweek article titled “Why did so many African-American women support R. Kelly?Were we in support of R. Kelly, Sistas????

Letisha Harlins made sure she took her lunch break early last Friday so she could sit in her black Honda and listen to the live radio broadcast of the R. Kelly verdict. Kelly was once Harlin’s favorite musical celebrity. She plastered his album covers on her walls when she was in high school, and she saw him in concert nine times. But her support of the R&B crooner stopped six years ago when Kelly was arrested and charged with 14 counts of child pornography and child endangerment. The charges were the result of a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl. Harlins, now 24, was crushed. “I just couldn’t believe it,” says the native of Chicago, which is also Kelly’s hometown. “I’d put him on this pedestal for years and then I saw the tape. I can’t even look at him anymore. I couldn’t stand it.”

Harlins was crushed again this month when Kelly was found not guilty of all the charges. But almost as disturbing to her was how African-Americans, and especially African-American women, reacted to Kelly’s acquittal. When the verdict was announced, dozens of black women (and some black men) cheered outside the courtroom as the singer made his way past them to his waiting tour bus. It wasn’t just in Chicago. African-American blogs such as Young, Black and Fabulous, What About Our Daughters and Essence quickly filled up with letters from women exclaiming their joy over Kelly’s freedom. “That had to hurt the most,” said Harlins. “Seeing black women who could have very well been that girl–or had a daughter that could have been that girl–cheer that he got off. How could a woman not support the punishment of someone who hurt another woman? I just can’t understand it.”

It’s important to note that the alleged victim herself refused to testify and had insisted that she wasn’t on the tape; Kelly, too, insisted it wasn’t him on the tape. Those factors undoubtedly contributed to Kelly’s acquittal. Still, the reaction to the case raises a host of familiar, difficult issues, starting with the role celebrity can play in a criminal trial. Fame has long affected–or perverted–the way justice is meted out by a jury. The celebrity effect is arguably more pronounced when the defendant is black, in part because African-Americans feel protective when one of their own achieves mainstream success. “It’s sick,” says Aaron McGruder, creator of the comic strip “Boondocks,” which featured a scathing episode focused on Kelly and his supporters. “The love we have for our celebrities in the black community no matter what they do is crazy, and there is no excuse for it. It’s just blind and clueless.” As the O. J. Simpson case demonstrated, some African-Americans believe that the criminal-justice system is so stacked against them, they almost don’t care if a defendant is actually innocent or guilty. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just nice so see a brother beat the system–the way I know white guys with money do all the time,” said Lamont Gillyard, 25, a loan officer in Los Angeles. “It’s not right, but there are so many black men in jail for stuff they didn’t do, it’s hard not feel like this is a way of balancing out the game that isn’t fair anyway.” Continue reading

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Is it a Different Country?

PAUL KRUGMAN of the NY Times says it just might be in his article today, “It’s a Different Country“.  Discussing Obama’s electability he talks about the current state of race and electoral politics. He says that  “decades of pressure on public figures and the media have helped drive both overt and strongly implied racism out of our national discourse”.

Fervent supporters of Barack Obama like to say that putting him in the White House would transform America. With all due respect to the candidate, that gets it backward. Mr. Obama is an impressive speaker who has run a brilliant campaign — but if he wins in November, it will be because our country has already been transformed.

Mr. Obama’s nomination wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. It’s possible today only because racial division, which has driven U.S. politics rightward for more than four decades, has lost much of its sting.

And the de-racialization of U.S. politics has implications that go far beyond the possibility that we’re about to elect an African-American president. Without racial division, the conservative message — which has long dominated the political scene — loses most of its effectiveness.

Take, for example, that old standby of conservatives: denouncing Big Government. Last week John McCain’s economic spokesman claimed that Barack Obama is President Bush’s true fiscal heir, because he’s “dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything.”

Now, the truth is that the Bush administration’s big-spending impulses have been largely limited to defense contractors. But more to the point, the McCain campaign is deluding itself if it thinks this issue will resonate with the public.

For Americans have never disliked Big Government in general. In fact, they love Social Security and Medicare, and strongly approve of Medicaid — which means that the three big programs that dominate domestic spending have overwhelming public support.

If Ronald Reagan and other politicians succeeded, for a time, in convincing voters that government spending was bad, it was by suggesting that bureaucrats were taking away workers’ hard-earned money and giving it to you-know-who: the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks, the welfare queen driving her Cadillac. Take away the racial element, and Americans like government spending just fine.

But why has racial division become so much less important in American politics?

Part of the credit surely goes to Bill Clinton, who ended welfare as we knew it. I’m not saying that the end of Aid to Families With Dependent Children was an unalloyed good thing; it created a great deal of hardship. But the “bums on welfare” played a role in political discourse vastly disproportionate to the actual expense of A.F.D.C., and welfare reform took that issue off the table.

Another large factor has been the decline in urban violence…Click here for the rest of the article.

What do you think about this subject???

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When campaigning for a black man you will face racism…duh

I just read the Washington Post piece “Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause” and I just have to say DUH!!!  I’m mean really???  Really? People are surprised about campaign offices being defaced and people calling teens the N-word?  Have we all bought into the whole “color blind America” concept?  Really?

The article notes that Obama’s camp hasn’t publicized the racial incidents that have occured.  You want to know why?  You want to the reason they weren’t bold enough to print?  Can you handle it?

Because white people don’t want to hear about that stuff!!! It makes them fell bad.  That kind of news doesn’t make white people want to vote for “Barry.”  If his name is too black, too African/Muslim thus they’ve given him the nickname “Barry”,  then they damn sure don’t want to think about racism and injustice when they think of him.  White folks will not be motivated by guilt, shame, or America’s racism when voting for Obama. That much guilt doesn’t exist in America…ask a segregationist about the civil rights era, they’ll tell ya.  The things that people in Obama’s camp have suffered are nothting compared to things that protesters endured in the Civil rights era.   It took years and years and years of seeing that for white folks to get behind the cause and help move the government.

It’s better that Obama stick with connecting himself and his image to middle of the road concepts…hope…change…etc.  White America doesn’t want to see oppression and the legacy of slavery when they look at a potential candidate.  They want to feel good about giving their “black friend” a chance.

Yes…I said it.

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Divorce goes slow after Juanita Bynum’s Essence article

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the divorce case of national evangelist Juanita Bynum and her estranged husband have broken down since the pastor dished about her troubled marriage in Essence magazine. Attorney for Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III said Monday that the magazine story has halted negotiations between the couple.  Bynum is featured in a story this month about her tumultuous relationship with Weeks. She discusses past incidents of abuse and the night of the alleged Aug. 21 attack that eventually led to the divorce.  Weeks’ attorney Randy Kessler, of Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany, said the story in Essence “revealed a calculated, aggressive media attack on Bishop Weeks,” who has denied the alleged attack.

“The comments made by Rev. Bynum in that article has sabotaged discussions in the divorce case,” Kessler said.

The Bynum interview hit the stands this month just as the couple was negotiating their divorce settlement. Essence will feature Bynum in a January cover story where she will discuss plans for a domestic violence ministry.

Weeks is denying the abuse claims made in the article.  “Anyone who knows the truth about our marriage, knows what is in that magazine is a bunch of conjectures, misstatements, and dramatized events,” Weeks said in a statement released after a press conference at his church Wednesday.

Weeks said the interview made him look like a “villian” and that he is looking forward to being “vindicated” in the court system.

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