Lil Wayne & Lil Girls For MJ?!

Seems like people are really buzzing about my rant regarding Bucoonery Entertainment Television.  But something I overlooked last night was that there was a certain performance that really rubbed me the wrong way..or should I say wrong Wayne.  The “hottest thing in music” came out, like most of the other artists at the BET Awards, and performed in a tribute to Michael Jackson.  Here is where the problems start coming in…

So do they really wanna fuck EVERY girl in the world...even if theyre 16?

– His song choices were the ultra popular “I Wish I Could Fuck Every Girl” and “Always Strapped.”

Now, under normal circumstances, these niggerish songs would be just fine for the, well, niggerish BET Awards.  But come on now, in a tribute to a guy who, musically, was very clean and positive, is tributed by arguably one of the most degrading rappers out there (Remember, he did say he’d leave cocaine in a woman’s anus…multiple times.) and the young man is emphatically being bleeped out by BET because the song is so vulgar.  Doing it for a regular audience?  Yeah, that’s cool.  Doing it as your tribute performance for Michael Jackson?  EHHHHHHHH……

I mean come on, I’m sure the guy meant no harm but context, context, context.  This is something BET doesn’t really understand – the context in which events occur.  I understand they scrambled to change the show around because of MJ’s death.  I understand that the whole night was supposed to pay homage to the man.  And I also understand they had an award show they wanted to do.  R&B performers worked well, Jay-Z had a good performance…but when Lil Wayne and “Cash Money,” as host Jamie Foxx called them, came out there was something that just said to me – “This isn’t right…not on the Mike tribute show.”  And you know what, after watching him perform his verse from “Every Girl,” he snatched up every girl…who might have been underage.  As I saw him pull up these girls, a few thoughts came to my mind:

A) “Are those girls 15?  What the hell?!”

B) Who let their underage daughters get on the stage and grind and dance with Lil Wayne and Drake?!

C) Is this really happening on live television at the first big Michael Jackson tribute?

And as my boy put in his Facebook status:


So at this point, in MJ’s honor, we’ve got a grown man with his shirt off screaming he wants to fuck every girl in the world while having little girls on stage dancing.  Fantastic imagery, I can hear the white people at the water cooler.

“So Bob, you watch those nigger awards last night?”

“Oh yeah, Steve.  They tried to celebrate that kid molester freak, Michael Jackson.”

“Yeah, speaking of kid molesters, all those big black tattooed niggers sang about having sex with every girl in the world and then pulled their own Michael Jackson by trying to molest their own underage girls.”

“Can’t trust those niggers, Bob.  Just can’t.”

Like I said, it was just too damn much after the niggerishness of the night itself to end up with that image.  And then Baby came out for his verse in the song, “Always Strapped.”  And he botched it up something terrible, looking like he forgot his verse and showcased how the whole damn awards show was unprofessional and nignorant like there’s no tomorrow.

And, following the entirety of the underage girls on stage, the horribly profane music being performed, the crappiness of the performance (the singer/rapper Drake did not sing at all nor was his rapping at all on point) Lil Wayne finished the nignorant, bucoonery set by saying, “Rest in peace Mike Jackson!”

No.  He’s not resting in peace.  Not in the least.

Tiny, Toya, Who the Hell Are Ya?

So BET is publicizing a new show coming out, featuring T.I.’s woman, Tiny, and Lil Wayne’s ex-woman, Toya.  The show’s title?  No, not “2 Coattail Riders Making A Buck,” or “A Hasbeen and an Ex,” but simply, “Tiny & Toya.”  The show follows both ladies as they deal with their status, their friendships, relationships, being mothers, etc.  That’s fantastic, should make for interesting television except NOBODY KNOWS WHO THE HELL THEY ARE.  They currently market themselves through their affiliations with their men (or ex-men, in Toya’s case) and exploring their lives and breaking out of that shell.  Here’s a big problem with that…

Do you know who these women are?  I didnt until I kept seeing ads about them...

Do you know who these women are? I didn't until I kept seeing ads about them...

Tiny has a Grammy.  Tiny was a successful artist with So So Def.  Tiny has taken a lot of time off, but she has had a life without T.I., and it appears to have been quite fruitful.  Now she’s making a buck using her relationship to T.I. (hey, he was out saving kids before he went to jail, now she’s gotta bring home the bacon somehow) to get an audience.  And what do you know, people want to watch her.

Toya Johnson Carter, the ex-wife of Lil Wayne, is now ready to step out of the shadow of being Lil Wayne’s ex and become her own woman of sorts.  Great…go from Wayne’s ex to a reality show star in order to make a name for yourself.  That’s fantastic.  BET has done it again, folks.

Wait, there’s more.  During tonight’s BET Awards, I saw a commercial that had a familiar face on it.  A crazy lady who I’d only heard of but never met, Thank God.  A crazy lady who people have mentioned to me but never introduced me to.  Frankie, Keyshia Cole’s crazy ass mom, and her older sister Neffe, are getting their own show.  This is the new thing now, have a famous loved one, be crazy and get your own show.  Or have a famous loved one, spin a story out of it and get your own show.  Again, who the hell are these people?!  Two women trying to get on the good foot in life don’t need a damn camera in their face, they need help!  Two women who have family issues, man issues, ex-man issues, wanting to break out the box don’t need a camera in their face; they need time AWAY from the limelight!  And what’s worse is people will follow these 4 women and know their stories better than they know a Bible, The Cat in the Hat, anything!  Just what in the hell are we doing here so that we care so much about 4 random women (ESPECIALLY Toya and Tiny – they are literally on the outside of the TV looking in) instead of the actual women going through stuff without famous people who they can rely on?

And yet again, BET, you’ve managed to give Black people a solid foot in the ass without us knowing it.  It’s like feeding us gruel and telling us it’s prime rib.  It appears we’re starting to really eat this stuff like it’s prime rib.  Awhile back I said I should eulogize Black TV following the cancellation of The Game. It appears Black TV, as produced by “Black” Entertainment Television, has now come out of its grave as a blood sucking zombie who needs to get its head shot off, Resident Evil style.  Does anybody have a shotgun?

BET Awards = Bucoonery

I don’t have to remind anybody who’s Black that tonight was the BET Awards…of which I proudly saw 20 minutes of.  I used Facebook to find out what happened, and you know what the first major event I saw was? 

Yeah, Eddie Levert saying “shit” on live television while giving a Michael Jackson story.  And when I finally turned on the BET Awards after finishing watching The Bash, I see Taraji P. Henson attempt to give out an award…when Tyrese jumps out, acting like Jodi from Baby Boy, and Taraji and Tyrese get into character fake arguing, much to the crowd’s delight.  All this on a damn awards show.  But wait, it gets better!  Ving Rhames, you know, the “Guns and Butta” man from Baby Boy comes out and gets on the mic.  He asks the audience to say, “Guns is Michael Jackson” and have them repeat it after him like some sort of dumbass mantra, then says, “Guns is the BET Video Awards show!”  And tries to have the crowd repeat that too.  I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t think he was in character, I thought he was just drunk.  Then, he reminds the audience that the butta is “those bitch ass awards shows.”  I’m pretty sure someone got fired for the Eddie Levert comment, but he wasn’t quick enough on the trigger either, bleeping out “ass” rather than “bitch,” a word that BET does its best to eliminate from its programming.

BET Awards 09, celebrating the finest and possibly THE finest performer/singer/lyricist/entertainer in history, Michael Jackson, apparently bumble it up at every turn.  If it was up to me, there wouldn’t have been any damn awards tonight.  Fuck awards, we celebratin’ MJ tonight!  Without him, nobody in that room deserves an award, except the O’Jays.  Oh, here’s how the rest of the segment with Taraji, Tyrese, and Ving went:

While Ving and Tyrese fake argue in the background, Taraji announces the winner of the Viewer’s Choice award – T.I. and Rihanna for Live Your Life.  One’s incarcerated and the other wasn’t there, so guess who got to receive the award.  You got it, Tiny.  That’s right, Tiny.  Yeah, her goddamn name is Tiny.  First of all, you don’t get to thank nobody – YOU didn’t win anything!  Secondly, get the hell off the stage.  And thirdly, I didn’t hear any nominees for any kind of awards.  What the hell kind of award show just gets right to the winners?  That’s why people are Grammy Award nominated and put that in their folder, and BET Award nominees don’t even damn know their nominated.

I’m watching this like a damn car wreck: I’d love to just stop watching but it’s too much of a spectacle not to watch.  And there is the problem.  Everybody watched the show, not for the winners, but to watch the buffoonery unfold and mix with the everpresent BET coonery and combine to be 3 hour public bucoonery, making black people look worse every damn minute.  Mind you, this is with 20 minutes of actually watching and damn near all of my Facebook friends constantly updating their statuses, like a big ass conference call.  Everybody watched that travesty unfold like a bad mystery movie plot where we already knew whodunit in the first 30 seconds of the movie.  I’ll tell you whodunit – BEfuckingT, that’s who.

Im Black and appalled - should it be BAT?

I'm Black and appalled - should it be BAT?

Nevermind that MC Lyte was back in a damn DJ booth when she’s actually one of the brighter people in that room, no, let’s let that one go.  Nevermind that apparently Ciara’s performance was garbage with her singing offkey, we can let that one go.  Nevermind the lack of nominee announcements, the lack of tribute to MJ, I want to know why in the hell are we so enthralled with this crap!  Wyclef himself said he came from a shack to the ghetto to the mansion, so we can all do it!  Hurray, way to promote an overly sensationalized monetary fixation that’s already been superimposed on Black people (layman: way to keep tellin’ niggas to go get that dough, and then tell ’em no excuses so they find any means necessary) so that they can shuck and jive, throw a ball, catch a ball, kick a ball, dunk a ball, shoot a ball, sing, rap, produce, etc…but of course since it’s the BET Awards the only person in there who didn’t make a living doing any of those things or being the wife of someone who’s doing those things is motherfucking Al Sharpton!

I’m not the only one who didn’t like the damn Awards show.  Seems like everybody’s Facebook status was set to “BET is garbage” in some form or another.  Sad part, come next June, at BET Awards 10, a) Somebody will think it’s their 10th annual award show, and b) Everybody who hated tonight’s show will watch it/Facebook it/Twitter it/Whatever the new social networking site is it and get mad all over again.

And Joe Jackson is truly a dick (though we’ve all seen the Jacksons movie and already knew that):

Someone once told me to write a book called “My People, Why?”  I’m scrapping that title and going with, “On Why I Hate Blax by a Black Man.”

-Mr. Philo

The King has passed…what now???

What a day, what a day.  Michael Jackson has died after going into cardiac arrest earlier today. The tributes began quickly, ranging from 106th and Park, CNN, SportsCenter, MTV Jams put on a marathon of his videos, and Facebook/Twitter/the internet has exploded.  The staple in entertainment for decades is gone, and behind him he leaves a legacy that will never be matched.  He made pop music cool again.  This MJ



dominated the 80’s and early 90’s before the basketball MJ dominated the 90’s.  Thriller got it’s own 25 year re-release. He owned his own ranch. He made crowds of thousands lose their minds as if Jesus himself had come to their city.  Has anybody seen “Live in Budapest”?  They all looked like they could die right then and their lives were complete.  But here’s the flip side…

Musically, he hasn’t been relevant since HIStory. I really think people love him nostalgically because there’s no generation so far that hasn’t been touched by his music, but when we talk about the music we remember, the videos we remember, we’re remembering stuff like Thriller, the groundbreaking music video and song.  We’re remembering Smooth Criminal.  We’re remembering Bad.  We’re remembering Beat It.  We’re remembering Remember the Time.  Nobody rocked Butterflies.  By the time 1998 rolled around, he’d become more of a public spectacle than the true King of Pop.

But the numbers don’t lie.  Michael Jackson helped provide MTV with popularity.  He broke ground for being one of the first African-Americans to get a lot of airplay on MTV.  He made the music video an artform.  And when it comes to album sales, the guy’s untouchable.  I could go on and on and on about the records he set, his musical abilities, his singing voice, even his production ability.  But I wanted to remind us all that there’s officially a vacuum in the pop world.  Much like there will never be another Michael Jordan in the NBA, Wayne Gretzky in the NHL, Joe Montana in the NFL, the question of will there be another WORLDWIDE sensation like Michael Jackson has an easy answer – no.  I don’t think anybody else can compete.  Justin Timberlake is a succesful pop artist, so is Britney Spears.  Maybe MJ was his own phenomenon, like a comet or something.  Only comes around once a lifetime.  Either way, it’s really weird to think of him as dead.  Like I said, even though he really has only been relevant as a media figure in the recent past, his music and entertainment level remains unspeakably strong.

I know I’ve gone ranting a bit here, but this death is highly important because I haven’t seen a worldwide superstar like that ever.  I grew up singing and dancing his hits, because I was lucky enough to be alive at arguably the apex of his popularity – the late 80s and early 90s.  I was born the same year Bad was released, and when I was 4 he released Dangerous.  In my house somewhere is there is a vinyl record of Bad that I used to spin in our front room when I was a kid all the time.  I still remember convincing my aunt to buy me the HIStory album on a whim because I saw it in a store and it was 2 days before my birthday.  I still remember my uncle always putting on the “Live in Budapest” tape (this uncle of mine ALWAYS had the best bootlegs) everytime I went to his house.  My memories of MJ will remain fond, but now the time has officially come.  Who will be the next monarch of pop?

…….They won’t be wearing Mike’s crown.  They’ll have to fashion their own.

Anybody Else Miss Bernie Mac?..and other comedy musings…

I was watching the Bernie Mac Show on FX the other day when it hit me – damn, Bernie Mac is dead and he was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen.  The man just oozed comedic gold, ever since his first bigtime routine, popularized on Def Comedy Jam, “I Ain’t Scared of You Mothafuckas!”  Here’s the routine:

If you don’t start laughing at least 3 times, then you need to get your funny bone checked.  His standup work was gold; go watch the Kings of Comedy if you really want proof – he was the closer for a reason.  But as I was watching the show and remembering just how great he was a comic, I got to thinking about comedy now.  The Kings of Comedy was almost a decade ago; many of the black comic heavyweights are older and aren’t doing comedy very much anymore, or at least not to the popularity that they may have had some 10-15 years ago.  The crowd has changed, and the taste has definitely changed.  Dave Chappelle is still hilarious, and Chris Rock has maintained his comedic steam, going worldwide with his performances.  Katt Williams’ star shone bright a couple of years ago, but I just don’t see that black comic we can all point to and go, “He’s just funny – period.”

Before I continue, I wanna say I love African-American comics.  I loved Comicview on BET as a secondary Def Comedy Jam that helped give some comedians their breaks.  There was a comic who always had an onstage persona of being a drunk, and he had a joke I’ll never forget because it put me to tears for a half hour.

“A woman gets this mirror at an antique shop, and hangs it on her bathroom door. One night, while getting changed, she says “Mirror, mirror, on my door, make my bustline forty four”.  There’s a flash of light, and her breasts get huge!  She goes to tell her husband what happened, and the husband goes to the mirror himself.  The husband say “Mirror mirror on the door, make my johnson touch the floor!”….and his legs fell off.  And the moral of the story is, ‘be careful what you wish for…”

I hollered my ass off when that man said that joke.  But enough reminiscing; more on the current comedy.  I don’t have any problem with white comedians; many are funny, but the delivery style of black comedians just seems to resonate with me.  The subject matter seems to resonate with me.  Lavell Crawford, a St. Louis native, had a bit that always has me rolling, you can watch it here.  And before I get caught up in comedic nostalgia again, I wanted to talk about the difference in comedy now.

It’s shock based.  Say or do something so damn ridiculous that people can’t help but laugh.  I watched The Hangover (the link is to a quick review on YouTube) and I laughed.  I chuckled.  I went, “What the hell?!”  It evoked emotion from me, so I guess it did its job.  But when I left, I couldn’t help but feel like I shouldn’t have laughed at some of this stuff.  I don’t want to spoil any moments in the movie, but I called my brother up after I left and said to him, “Funny just isn’t funny anymore to me.”  It could be that I’m stuck in the past.  But don’t get me wrong; I did laugh during The Hangover, just like I laughed during My Best Friend’s Girl, a movie that similarly just has people saying or doing whatever to gain a laugh.  And there’s a skill inherent to that type of slapstick comedy.  I guess it’s still good for people to not take themselves so seriously and that movie really set that up.  But still, there’s something about the new type of comedy, where it’s say whatever/do whatever that just rubs me the wrong way.  A lot of cursing, yelling and absurdity is what I find with popular comics currently and now in popular comedy movies.  And the hype machine, good God, was beyond belief with this movie.  But I don’t want to bash it – it was a funny movie, but I felt guilty for laughing.

Sometimes it seems like comedy has gotten down to making solid one liners that have no meaning anywhere else but within the context of that movie scene, and are another demarcation for what “the cool kids” know and talk about and what everybody else knows and talks about.  So many Facebook statuses changed to lines from The Hangover so fast I didn’t need to watch the movie; I saw all the lines already.  “Not you Fat Jesus” was comedy during that scene, but I dunno, these movies don’t seem so comedically fulfilling anymore.

I should say that in these days I just don’t laugh out loud as often as I used to unless the joke/punchline/event is actually funny haha to me, but it doesn’t really matter.  Comedy is going to evolve, and this is the next stage – the “Dane Cookification” of pop comedy.  But that’s another matter for later.  If you take anything away from all this, you should probably go see The Hangover and get some laughs, and you should go find some good stand up comedy and get some more laughs.

Random Music = Lifelong Memories

Everybody has a song attached to a memory.  Or a memory attached to a song.  Or a song that you know only because of some random event that you just won’t forget.  Off the top of my head, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody comes to mind.  When I first watched it, there was a hilarious scene of Wayne, Garth, and their two buddies just rocking all the way out, starting with the opera part of the song and then moving into the hard rock part of the song (which does indeed kick ass).  Now, as a young lad I didn’t have the slightest idea what song I was listening to until many years later, but the song – specifically the opera part and the hard rock part – has stuck with me since I first heard it.  Bohemian Rhapsody is now on my iPod, and when I shuffle it and hear it I’m always reminded of that initial moment I ever came into aural contact with that song. 

Another song that comes to mind is John Legend’s “Green Light,” an upbeat, fun song that he made with Andre 3000 in late 2008.  And forever, when I hear that song I’m always going to think of Election Night 2008.  I was at a friend’s house, watching the election results, when Wolf Blitzer announced that Obama was projected to win.  My friend ran over to the stereo, turned it up high as he could, and I heard “I’m ready to go right now…I’m ready to go right now…”  I’d never heard the song before, and as I danced to it, elated at the night’s events, I can’t dispell the memory -it’ll always be my election night song.  In 3 years, when Election Night 2012 happens, I’ll probably play that same song again if Obama wins again.

I recognize that both of these stories do involve a first encounter with a song, but there are songs that I can remember having a special place in my memories simply because of one or two moments surrounding it.  For example, Juvenile’s “I Got That Fire” has a ridiculous introduction between a fake interviewer and one of the Hot Boyz.  My cousin and I used to do that part all the time when we hung out because we thought it was just hilarious.  To this day I can say, “Woodie-san, what the fuck is an Oscar Meyer?” to him and he’ll die laughing.

Right now, go through your iTunes or your Windows Media Player or your Zune or whatever music player you’ve got and look through the library.  I guarantee you’ll find quite a few songs that have a particular memory tied to them, and not necessarily with the first time you hear it.  It’s kind of interesting to notice just how much influence that first time really means, I can’t listen to Etta James without thinking about the first girl I really dated, for example, because she put on some Etta James before we first kissed (yeah, I didn’t think I was going to be making out to Etta James but whatever works).  Luther Vandross’ “Take You Out” will always carry an image of my mom and a bunch of her sisters and nieces just jamming out to that album, playing “Take You Out” God knows how many times that night, and putting my CD burner through its paces also.  There are songs that just are inextricably linked to events that you won’t forget forever.

This is especially true for the professional wrestling fan.  The Ultimate Warrior is probably a great example of how the music will never leave a fan.  Here’s a video of the Warrior’s entrance:

Look at how wild people got when they hear the music.  I can’t hear those specific notes without seeing The Ultimate Warrior running down the aisle in my head, period.  He and that music are inseparable.  A more recent wrestler who fits the bill would be Triple H, and his entrance song, “The Game,” performed by Motorhead.  First of all, I’ve never seen somebody hack their Guitar Hero and put “The Game” on it and play it…until now.  (Much better version with someone doing Rock Band and killing it here.)  But that aside, that first chord only brings one man to mind; Triple H.  I’m sure this is the goal of the wrestling federation minds who attach certain pieces of music to certain wrestlers, but there’s just something to be said about the reaction people give when Triple H’s music hits:

That was from Wrestlemania 21, with Motorhead performing the song live.  And as you heard that first chord, the crowd started to excite (like they needed more excitement; it’s f’n Wrestlemania) because that music is synonymous with Triple H.

I’ve kinda rambled into what I’ve been trying to say – when you hear a song, you’ll have a memory of that song if something or someone important is associated with it.  “The Show Must Go On” by Queen, for example (weird – I know Queen songs now) will always have a memory of me and my boys in the booth just having fun to a remixed version of it and coming away with a really cool song.  Everybody who reads this post, take a moment and think about those songs that just have events or people tied to them, and think about how random some of those songs are in retrospect.  I’m by no means a rock type of guy, but I love Bohemian Rhapsody almost out of nostalgia from my first encounter with it.  Check your library and see how many songs just don’t fit your musical personality but are there out of that kind of nostagia because of some sort of moment that’s attached to it, and watch how surprised you’ll be.

Rooney Rule Upgraded…Finally!

Recently, the NFL has upgraded the famous Rooney Rule to apply to other top positions in teams’ organizational structures.  General Managers, VP of Football Operations, any senior football operations positions and the like have become necessarily opened up to people of color, which in the NFL means by and large African-Americans.  Perhaps the under the radar approach of Rod Graves, the GM of the current NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals and an African-American; Ozzie Newsome, the first African-American to be a GM in the NFL who has molded successful Baltimore Raven squads since 2002; Rick Smith, the GM of the perennially 8-8 Houston Texans; or possibly Jerry Reese, the current New York Giants GM and to my knowledge the only African-American GM to win a Super Bowl (yeah, long sentence, so shoot me) have finally opened the eyes of the NFL that black people aren’t just great cash cows on the field – they can build solid teams also.

Since 2003, when the Rooney Rule (named for Steelers owner Dan Rooney) was accepted by the NFL owners, we’ve seen more African-American coaches enter the head coaching ranks of the biggest football league in the world.  I can always say at least it’s not college football, with almost 120 D-1 schools participating in football, and 9 out of 120 have minority head coaches. But still, the NFL has 6 out of 32 African-American head coaches, and only 12 African-Americans have ever been the head coach in NFL history, fittingly with Mike Singletary being the 10th, Raheem Morris as the 11th and Jim Caldwell as the 12th (note: the Indianapolis Colts are the first franchise to hire two African-Americans as head coach; Oakland hired Art Shell twice…).  But the strides are evident in the NFL – Art Shell was the first African-American head coach of the modern era, the second ever following Fritz Pollard and the Akron Pros.  That was in 1989.  20 years since Art Shell was hired, we’ve seen another 10 hires, which include Romeo Crennel, Tony Dungy, Marvin Lewis, Lovie Smith, Herm Edwards, Mike Tomlin, Morris, Singletary, Caldwell, Denny Green and Ray Rhodes, and I hope I haven’t forgotten anybody.

I said all of that because it’s huge to notice how the Rooney Rule has impacted the NFL – many of these hires came after 2003, and to a certain extent Art Shell’s Coach of the Year campaign in 1990 paved the way for a guy like Denny Green to run one of the most high powered offenses in the NFL in 1998, going 15-1 and to the NFC Championship game that year (Dirty Bird Falcons won it behind Jamal Anderson, just a little football trivia for you).  I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Tony Dungy’s Sporting News NFL Coach of the Year win in 2005, Ray Rhodes’ AP/Sporting News CotY win in 1995, and Lovie Smith’s AP CotY win in 2005 – it’s evidence that black head coaches can and do get the job done.  While it’s known that the NFL, like damn near any institution, has a unique “Old Boys Club” that can make it difficult for African-Americans to break into the head coaching ranks.  But it’s getting a little better, and like I said – at least it’s not the diversity disaster that is college football.

This all means that the much needed upgrade to the Rooney Rule, extending now to the front office positions, should hopefully produce more African-Americans inside the front office, not just on the field.  I was rooting for the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII because America loves an underdog and because I wanted to see another black GM win a Super Bowl.  I really did.  Now I’m nowhere near unhappy that a black head coach won the Super Bowl, but the front office does a lot of work putting teams together.  I’m hoping now that the new addendum to the Rooney Rule will help put more African-Americans into that position, so that one day in the near future we can have the first ever black GM/Head Coach combo to win a Super Bowl.  Yeah, that’d be nice.

The Truth About Graduating From College

Yay!  I’ve graduated from college! The fact that I can actually watch my commencement online and see just how big a fool I was on stage (and no, I wasn’t the only fool) is still priceless.  But then came the stuff I hadn’t prepared for because I’d purposely not thought about it.  The inescapable, unsettling feeling of the winds of change on the horizon.  Sunday, May 17 2009 was a great day, and no doubt a long one for me and many of my Morehouse brethren.  Monday, May 18, 2009 was the day EVERYBODY left.  And the winds of change swirled through Atlanta…

I don’t know how it was “supposed” to go.  But a lot of my friends and colleagues disappeared come Monday.  I went on campus to give something to my favorite administrative assistant, and saw only a few people moving out.  It was like everybody already detached and dissapated into thin air.  And after I helped a friend move out, it hit me.  College is over.

That’s the chilling, unfortunate truth about college.  You leave with more friends than you came, but you don’t leave actually with them.  We all leave each other, and instead of the comfort of knowing you’ll see them in August or September, you don’t know when you’ll see them.  You, realistically, may never see them.  And it’s that thought that really makes college’s end a bittersweet finish.

We partied hard the week before, every night relishing that we don’t get to do this again.  We hugged, some people cried, many got drunk, and plenty of old memories were shared and new memories forged.  Check many a Facebook picture album for those events.  But what knocked me for a loop was how quickly we all got the hell out of there.  I dunno, to a certain extent we all knew this time was coming, we’d spent 4 years together – maybe we did need to just get away from one another right after graduation.  I expected a post-graduation glow of sorts – what I got was the aftershock of the earthquake known as Morehouse.

Again, I made sure not to think about this fact – that many of us won’t see each other again – and tried to tell myself, “Well we’ve got Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all kinds of other sites where we’ll keep up, right?”  And it’s true – we do have these sites, with plenty of people who we don’t know as our friends or following us or in our network and plenty more people we do know but don’t really interact with.  So it’s not too farfetched to think that we won’t see each other unless we go to a major city, (NYC tends to be chock full of Morehouse business majors, for example) or Homecoming.

Then it really hit me – I’m going to Memphis.  Nobody I graduated with is going to Memphis.  A couple of people are from there, but nobody’s going there to work.  It’ll be me and the two people I know from high school as my network.  The guys and girls who I’ve bonded with over the past 4 years almost don’t even matter in the immediate because they won’t be there.  The slate got wiped clean, and the new slate is looking at me, daring me to write on it.

And if all this wasn’t enough, it finally hit home to the fullest.  I’ve been blessed to have a small brotherhood of sorts; 5 or so guys who were all at my high school, either in my class or the grade below us, and we got very close.  I can call it a fraternity; we just call it The League.  My brother had a similar setup when he was in high school, with 5 or so guys (by the way, did I mention the high school is majority white and all of us were African-Americans?  Might help put things into perspective) who developed a bond.  One of his buddies in his senior yearbook put, “N.F.L.”  For those of you who may not know, it stands for, “Niggas For Life.”

The N.F.L., c/o 2000, 2005, 2006

The N.F.L., c/o 2000, 2005, 2006

That’s the type of bond we had, and as the second iteration of “The League,” we did what they did and perhaps we did it better (that’s subjective – I think we did some things better).  Either way, of The League, 3 of us went to Morehouse from my year.  Another one went the year after us.  One is staying in Atlanta and working.  One is working in Philly.  And I’m going to Memphis.  What was a naturally compact unit traveling from St. Louis to Atlanta is now spread across the eastern part of the United States with only the St. Louis familial hub to connect us.

I happened to have a get together the night I got in town (I rode in a U Haul with the guy who’s going to Philly, he was only in town for that night), and as the drinks flowed and people talked and enjoyed each other’s company, I just made the best of it – noting then that I’d write this post at some point in the near future – and hoping not to ruin anybody’s time.  He and I were the oldest people; everybody else was either about to be a sophomore or senior, I think.  Anyways, the sad truth had hit both of us, and we both didn’t really want to talk about it.  I told him bout some women I’d been talking to, he told me he’s sticking it out with his girlfriend of 4 years (and trust, I’m going to write a piece on the sanctity of relationships) and we kicked it hard one last time.

I ended up calling a friend of mine after he left, half drunk and very sad because he and I had known each other for half of our lives, been to school together since 7th grade.  The conversation couldn’t have been very good because I just remember telling her, “I’m sad, that’s been my nigga for forever,” or something along those lines.  Needless to say, the drinking exacerbated the emotional aspect of the situation.  Either way, that was when the truth about graduating from college hit me: it’s only one part of one’s life.  There’s so much more that happens after college that it makes heads spin out of control.  The people I’ve met over 4 years doesn’t add up to the people I’ll meet in the next 10, unless I’m a hermit or doing something Emily Dickinson-esque.  But, as depressing as it appears to be to essentially fall out of touch with many people who you went through so much with, it’s only a reminder to really hold tight to those bonds with people.  Don’t just let your friends fall through the cracks; keep up with them.  That whole “make new friends, but keep the old” saying is crap – if you’ve got friends, they’re all gold (though I hope that the value of gold is increasing, in which case your friends are whatever precious metal has the most value), no matter what.  Treasure the times with them – after awhile, you don’t get the luxury of having them around.

That’s what goes on after you graduate college.

-Mr. Philosopher

The Chronicles of the Black Pack – Pt. 4

For everybody who’s been following, it’s been a great ride but the drama with the Black Pack starts here in part 4….

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Maria and I have been together for some 7 months now.  Met her in a Starbucks and I’m not even a coffee drinker.  I was just going in to get my mom a latte, and there she was.  I FOUND a reason to talk to her; she was just a bad chick.  You know the type who looks amazing even when she’s in sweats and just finished exercising or something.  Her short haircut was going for her, and I was smitten, yeah I said it!  She made my mouth drop, and I think I asked her about her hair or something.  Like I said, I just wanted a reason to converse.  I think it went to the news, the crazy Atlanta weather (tornados in the South), and by the time I brought my mom stone cold coffee, I didn’t really care.  Maria was in my system and I liked it like that.  Mom didn’t like the cold coffee though.

I pulled up to her downtown loft and parked.  The city was buzzing, I’m not sure why.  Seemed like everybody was out today, loving the great weather and the multitude of things to do.  The cars all bumped different sounds amid their blaring engines.  Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy created a cacophony of rap noise.  Love was in my mind, so I hummed some Musiq Soulchild as I got buzzed in.

“Hey Matt, come in.”  Her voice wasn’t so down normally, but I suspected allergies or something.  She hung her head a little low, letting her shoulder-length hair settle at the base of her neck.  That aside, she still looked like a knockout.  I always got the same feeling from seeing her that I did the first time.  But her voice, her posture, everything about her seemed like gravity had taken an extra special hold on her.  Her normally bright brown eyes had a lifelessness to them.  I did what I always did when she seems down – I gave her a tight hug and kiss on her cheek.  Her physical response told me more than any verbal response to my question of “What’s wrong?”  There was no hug back.  With only centimeters of space between us, she appeared to be miles away.  After an awkward silence, we shared an awkward stare.  She broke the silence with those now-inevitable, dreaded words: “We need to talk.”  Everybody knows what this means, and I now had to plan my moves carefully.  I could interrupt her and try to convince her that we should stay together, I could let her talk and then try to refute everything she said, but I figured it’d be better to have no assumptions.  She might have bad news or something.  She motioned for me to come take a seat on the couch, and we sat opposite of one another.  She was in the love seat across the coffee table, and she turned the TV down.  I felt like she was about to tell me something that was going to crush me.  She opened her mouth and started saying under her breath, “I can’t do this…I can’t do this.”  She hopped out of the chair and started pacing.  I’d seen her act like this only when she’s terribly nervous and unsure of what she’s about to do.  She’s still making a decision.  “I can plead my case right now, but my record should speak for itself,” I thought.  Why in the hell do I need to plead my case?  I’ve been a great man to her and for her.  And more importantly, I know she knows that.  I stood up as she continued pacing across from me and spoke the only thing on my mind.  “Spit it out, Maria.  Don’t do this suspenseful stuff, talk.  What’s up?”  She kept her back to me, and the faceless voice came.  “I’ve really liked the past few months.  But I just don’t think we’ll be able to make it.  I think we need to take some time…apart.”

You have got to be kidding me.  Like most people when they are broken up with, they go from shock to anger – my transition was just quicker than most.  I had no idea that things were going wrong, she’d never given me any indicators or told me anything.  Next thing I know, it’s time to see other people.  What in the hell.  She enjoyed me like a toy, then tossed me when she grew tired of me.  Part of me wanted to ask her why, part of me wanted to go, “What the fuck,” and another part of me wanted to just walk out of the apartment.  With my hands across my chest and having fixed my face from a look of shock to a look of…I don’t even know, I just know my mouth wasn’t hanging open, I went with, “Well how did you figure that?”  I really did want to hear the answer to this question – I wasn’t loving enough, I was too loving, I didn’t provide her with enough security, I was becoming too much for her, my dick wasn’t big enough or it was too big, what kind of excuse could she even have?

She walked over to her kitchen and got a glass of water.  She chugged it down and wiped her mouth, saying, “We’ve been getting so close…I’m just not ready for all of this heavy relationship stuff.  When you told me you loved me the other day, it hit me – I don’t know if I love you or not.  I don’t know where I want this to go…I’m sorry, baby.  I just need some time to figure this all out.”

Oh hell no.  My jaw dropped again.  She just broke up with me because after some 7 months, I tell the woman I love her and she can’t handle it.  Maria just broke up with me for no damn reason at all.  All that nice crap I said about her?  I lied; she’s a bitch for this one.

Since my afternoon was shot, I just ambled back to my car and sat in it for awhile.  After about 15 minutes or so, I gave Andre a call.  “Nigga, I need a drink.  You tryin’ to hit up M Bar?”  “Yeah, let’s do that around 7:00, I’m in the middle of a meeting.  I’ll meet you there.”  He hung up, and so I had a few hours to kill.  On my way home, I made sure to join the cacophony of rap noise though.

Someone once told me that a man only loves hard once.  He’ll still love after that, but it’ll never be that hard.  I always thought that was a load of crap some hurt guy was telling me when I was younger.  But every time I think about what older men told me growing up, it was to love single life for as long as possible, because getting serious makes a man think twice.  I can understand this a little bit better now, I don’t think I’d ever gone so long with one woman before and really fell for her.  Only thing more painful for a man might be getting his balls chopped off.


You think the drama ended?  It’s only just begun, trust.