7.Feb – Tina Nagbare – :: On Theatre & Privilege ::

I love musicals. I don’t know how or when it started, but I love them deeply. I try to see a show (Broadway or local productions) at least once a year and even ventured out to my first opera a couple of years ago. To be honest, most of the productions I see have pretty diverse casts and/or purposely feature people of color (POCs) like The Color Purple, Hamilton, The Lion King, and Dreamgirls. So imagine how frustrating it is when each time I go to these shows I notice the audience is mostly White. Not all or only, but mostly… like 80%+ White. And I’m sure this observation is at least somewhat related to how much a theater ticket costs.
Last week I went to see the Broadway production of Aladdin and I saw a little White girl at the show with what I assume was a birthday crown who looked like she was around 7 or 8 years old. She was sitting in the front row with her family singing, dancing, & living her best life and I was genuinely happy for her because… why wouldn’t I be? I was doing the same because the show is amazing! During the intermission I tried to do a quick scan to see if there were other kids present and there were a lot (likely because it’s a Disney production) and I couldn’t help but notice that most of them (~85 to 90%) were White. And of the kids I saw who were POCs I didn’t see any that were Black or Brown. Maybe it was just the night that I went, but also… maybe it wasn’t.
Representation is important and Aladdin has an extremely diverse cast (from the lead actors to the company) and it frustrates me that so many kids of color won’t get to see or experience it outside of it’s cartoon form. And not only do they miss an opportunity to see people that look like them on stage, but they also lose early exposure to an artistic industry as a professional option for them. I’m not just talking about roles on the cast, there’s also stage managers/back office operations, the musicians (orchestra), makeup, costume design, set design, etc. that so many will miss out on simply because they haven’t had the opportunity to be exposed to it. Now let’s layer on top of that the knowledge that many schools in low-income neighborhoods are under-resourced/budget-strapped and arts and music programs are many times non-existent. Again, I’m not just referencing professional productions, many students are missing out on school productions as well which I’d argue are more important because school productions offer hands-on experience at producing a show.
To be fair, I’m mostly referencing Broadway productions and those tickets cost (in my experience) at least $50 per person. That isn’t a lot of money for me now (blessings on blessings), but definitely would have been for my family when I was younger especially if that number was multiplied by any number of my siblings plus the cost of transportation, etc. The theater is costly and time-consuming and those are 2 things low-income families often don’t have excessive amounts of. The fact that there is an economic barrier to such an inspiring and educational expedience truly makes me sad and I had that feeling earlier this week.
Maybe I’m frustrated because I love the theater and I believe it’s an experience everyone should have at least once – you should at least have a chance to reject it LOL And I’m not just referencing musicals (but seriously… who doesn’t love a sparkly, well-choreographed musical number??? WHO??) there are TONS of different genres of theater to experience. And just like we’re working to make sure every student has access to STEM education regardless of economic status, we shouldn’t be neglecting the arts either. The arts are one of the cultural pillars that document and carry forward our cultures, we need to make sure that we’re building the next generation of culture bearers that keep telling and producing amazing stories.

 

8.Jan – Tina Nagbare :: Random, Collected Rants ::

2018 is going to be lit…why would I make such a bold statement?  Well, Tina sent a blog post.  This means your lives have been blessed.  She’s probably going to cut me or call me and cuss me out for this lil intro – but we on different coasts so I ain’t THAT scared.  Also #8 had me in tears this morning.

  • Kenneth

————————

A series of thoughts that I reflect on often, but can’t be bothered to create entire blog posts on. Enjoy. Or don’t. *shrug*
  1. There is no such thing as a healthy version of an unhealthy food. It’s just a new food item so stop trying to rename things that are already a thing. Eat your turkey strips in peace, but don’t call them bacon because that comes from a pig. Eat your veggie patties at every summer cookout, but they’re not burgers. To quote Kid Fury, “Cauliflower ain’t got no damn wings, call em bites!”
  2. I’m exhausted… truly tired of everything labeled as “African-inspired” being animal and/or safari prints & everything labeled “African-print” being wax prints or dashikis. Folks are so lazy even with all of this internet at your disposal?? You all still don’t know how big and diverse that continent is??
  3. Your fav – whomever they are – IS PROBLEMATIC. EACH AND EVERY ONE. The faster you learn this, the easier life gets. I know it helped me.
  4. After such an awesome career why does Will Smith insist on making terrible movies now? Does he aspire to be the Mariah Carey of the movie industry? Doing it for s**** and giggles and not caring if he pisses us off or not because he knows most people will hate watch them anyway and he’ll still get his coins/checks with his legacy secure? (I know that was a run-on sentence and I don’t care.)
  5. White people are full of s***. Like all of the time. Like daily. They love to say idiotic phrases like “black-on-black crime”, but conveniently forget events like Jonestown, Waco,  and the TV show Snapped (an entire series dedicated to mostly white folks organizing hits & murdering each other for insurance money instead of just breaking up). But yea… whatever. POCs are the violent, law-breakers. Ok, then. *rolls eyes*
  6. Speaking of white people, why do y’all insist on creating these robots that we all know will eventually turn on us and kill us? Why are y’all so eager to die? And can you please leave me out of it?
  7. Who keeps putting microphones in front of Steve Harvey’s face??
  8. People don’t bother to read anything anymore – books, articles, blogs, street signs… NOTHING.
  9. I don’t like being forced to choose a “favorite” anything. Why can’t I just like all of the things I want to equally?
  10. Is the lesson we’re supposed to learn from The Sex & The City series and the Bridget Jones trilogy that if you stick with a non-committal dude until your 40s he might actually get his shit together (after other failed marriages) and marry you? Because fkc that – I’m going to pass. Also, why isn’t the Bridget Jones trilogy a box-set yet?!?!? WHY???
  11. Why do white people insist on putting mayo on everything? Why was there TWO LAYERS of mayo on my taco (coleslaw and aioli?? what did tacos do to you??). Also stop coming up with new names for mayo like aioli!! Sidebar: So yall came up with a new name for seasoned mayo, but can’t find a different name for “turkey bacon”???
  12. Everything doesn’t need a timeline. WHY DOES MY BIBLE APP HAVE A TIMELINE?!?!?!

30.May – { :: Dear BET, Please Don’t F* This Up. Sincerely, Us :: } with Tina Nagbare

Osay.-2

At this point you may be wondering, “Damn, is she only going to write about Prince now?” My response: “Maybe. Deal. *blankstare*

In some ways I’m still reeling, in other ways I’m adjusting, in all ways it’s still surreal that Our Purple One is gone, but que sera, sera and all that jazz…

True to form (and my official Kennethology photo) in general I’m ready, willing, and likely to serve up a side eye when I even think someone may be acting out of pocket. For things and people that I truly care about that likelihood intensifies by about 100%. Such is the case with Prince which is why aside from my initial outrage, I have given little thought to that shameful “tribute” that un-named award show had planned. Listen, I’m over-sensitive – I will admit that, but so what? There were so many red flags that it escapes me how anyone other than a white feminist and 3 well-meaning white guys thought this would be a good idea…. But then again… look at the show. Aside from the fact that being a “peer” (in terms of age and career peak only) means nothing, OR the fact that Prince beefed with that performer for over a decade and only recently became “cool” again, OR the fact that the same “called to request” leading the “tribute” (“Hello, publicity thirst trap, party of one please.”), aside from all of that – that person’s vocals are shotty at best and they play zero instruments. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when we don’t stay in our respective lanes, tragedy strikes. Was Lady Gaga David Bowie’s “peer”? No, but she was the person who could get the job done RIGHT and that’s all that matters, Wendy Williams. If you think a ruffled blouse and a glittery staff is all you need to tribute a genius like Prince, you don’t even deserve to be in the audience. You can try to defend it all you want, but this is not about meeting an impossible standard. It is the simple fact that it’s impossible to tribute someone by ignoring everything they stood for. That wack attempt reflects everything Prince disliked about the music industry. But look at me… going off on tangents. That’s not e’em what I’m here for…

June is near and all eyes (and prayers) have shifted to the BET Awards. We are in need of a proper Prince tribute. We don’t just deserve it – it is now owed to us. We all knew the above mentioned “tribute” would be trash (that’s probably why BET had their Prince-level shade cued up and ready to go),  but if you cast shade – YOU HAD BEST COME CORRECT. I have a tortured relationship with BET, but in this case, I’m rooting for you and I need you to be great. I’m here to help and I’m sure I’ve left some things out, but as one who’s been borderline obsessed with Prince for a majority of my adult life (I can neither confirm nor deny that if I lived within driving distance of Minneapolis that I wouldn’t have been a regular at Paisley Park), I want to share 3 quick points of encouragement and notes that may help you get on the right path.

  1. BET, you have all that you need to be great at this. This is the year of 2016, so far on track to be the one of the Blackest years ever. You have “Black” in your name. June is Black Music Month. It’s also Prince’s birth month. You have a ton of folks who want to right the grave injustice that other awards show has done to our people. You’ve been able to pull out our big names before – Prince and Stevie Wonder came to tribute Chaka KhanMJ came to tribute James Brown, Whitney showed up for the first broadcast, the list goes on. You’ve even done a Prince tribute before meaning YOU HAVE HIS BLUEPRINT (instrumentalists, black women vocalists, etc.). He applauded you for it now all you have to do is choose to stick to it.

1-a. [For once] We’re all rooting for you. – Again, I have been pretty vocal about my issues with BET, but I’ll admit that you’ve also given me juuuust enough to be cautiously optimistic. Lest we forget that bomb reggae medley in 2013 that I’m still adjusting my wig from…. you executed that perfectly… do yall see Nikki getting her entire life in the audience… what other awards show would that happen??? Then that Bad Boy reunion last year and now we’re being blessed with a whole damned tour. You have showed up right on time before and we need you to do it again.

1-b. You’ve pulled this off before with less notice. Listen, I’m still applauding the MJ tribute you all managed to pull off with just 2 DAYS NOTICE in 2010. (It should be noted 2010 was the same year you did your first Prince tribute.) Granted, it may be a little easier because you can pull off an MJ tribute by only featuring choreography, BUT you made a good call in bringing in Chris Brown. And I care not that he spent all of “Man In The Mirror” in tears. It was moving and we all know the words to that song anyway. Plus a light instrumental to one of MJ’s deepest, most meaningful songs, was moving on its own because it gave us room to reflect NOT JUST ON HIS ARTISTRY, but who he was as a humanitarian. It wasn’t just enough, it was great.

  1. “At the heart of the matter is the music. I am a musician.”–Prince, BET Tonight interview

This is likely where many tributes will fail. The focus should be on artistry and musicianship. Yes, Prince was an amazing performer. Yes, he had some great outfits, but what he was the most proud of and what he wanted to be remembered for is his music. THAT should be the focus which means that solid vocals, artists, and true musicians shouldn’t be sacrificed for dancers and performers in flashy outfits (I’m looking at you, Beyonce). We’ve seen many of these names before. Don’t be afraid to call in a few ringers and ol’ heads. If folks don’t know their names, they’ll learn ‘em. (in no particular order)

─       Esperanza Spalding

─       Janell Monae

─       Patti Labelle

─       Chaka Khan

─       Sheila E.

─       Larry Graham

─       Morris Day & The Time (don’t forget Jerome and The Bodyguards, please and thanks)

─       The Revolution (not just Lisa and Wendy, we need Brown Mark and Dr. Fink too)

─       3rd Eye Girl

─       Judith Hill

─       New Power Generation

─       Rosie Gaines (featured in Cream and Diamond and Pearls)

─       Alicia Keys (I have my own feelings about her rendition of Adore the last time, but Prince gave her props, so who am I to judge?? Imma judge tho…)

─       Bilal

─       Maxwell (pending song choice – Most Beautiful Girl In The World??)

─       Lenny Kravitz

─       Erykah Badu

─       Bruno Mars (pending song choice – Cream??)

─       Stevie Wonder (I think he should sit this one out, but that’s just me)

I mean I could go on, but you get the point, you have so many options. If in doubt, just stick with artists Prince has worked with, mentored, and/or performed with in the past.

2-a. THERE SHOULD BE NO LESS THAN 2 BLACK WOMEN IN THIS TRIBUTE. PERIOD.

2-b. Don’t rely on “big names”, you won’t need them. (See: reggae medley above) We don’t need fancy names, we need people who CAN DO THIS RIGHT.

2-c. Again, LEAVE BEYONCE OUT OF THIS. I know she will ask and I know there will be temptation, but no. No shade, just tea (see comment above re: staying in lanes). This is not the space for her and she rarely cares enough to show up to your show in person anyway. Let her give yall another YouTube stream of some track off of Lemonade, because THIS ain’t about her and her “I think I can vocals”.

2-d. NO NEW FRIENDS. Ordinarily, I’d be fine with giving a new artist some shine, but don’t set them up. This is too much pressure and if they slip we will destroy them. We’ve taken all of the hits we will accept from that trash “tribute”, we won’t take any more.

To be on the safe side, even if they don’t perform, get Sheila E., Morris, and ‘em to sign off on whatever yall end up with.

3)      3. Don’t be lazy with the Track List. Please don’t rely on the Purple Rain soundtrack – it’s a cop-out and it’s lazy. We will accept I Would Die 4 UWhen Doves Cry or maybe Purple Rain can be a musical instrumental with no vocals (see: Chris Brown’s MJ tribute notes above). He had so much more to pull from before and after that album: ControversyI Wanna Be Your LoverKissDiamonds and PearlsThe Most Beautiful Girl In The WorldMusicologyNothing Compares 2 UMy Name Is PrinceBlack SweatEmancipationI Wish You HeavenRaspberry BeretAdoreHousequake, etc. Don’t be stingy, we’re open to songs he wrote but maybe didn’t perform; I really don’t think he’d mind – The Vanguard Jam (NAACP Image Awards).

Personally, I’d love to hear Cream and Partyman, but this ain’t about me – what would he want?  The man released over 40 albums meaning you have more than the standard 8 songs to choose from. Suggestion: Closing with “The Beautiful Ones” would be ideal, thanks.

3-a. There should be a rock song in this tribute. He was a funk-rock artist, please honor that and don’t only focus on his RnB or Pop hits.

3-b. There should be a guitar spotlight in this tribute. He was a beast on the piano, but his guitar skills were what he was most proud of. He spoke often about how he taught himself to play and it took him years to play the way he wanted to. Whenever he jumped in to surprise and play back-up for folks, it was bass and/or electric guitar. And can we EVER forget this guitar solo that he destroyed??? Don’t be afraid of a Lenny Kravitz and Larry Graham duet. If you pick the right song, you can combine with point 3-a.

3-c. I’d like a strong horn section… because… why not? But optional.

4)      Additional Notes / Simple Shade / Me Being Petty

– Mayte and Manuela can be invited, but we will only tolerate one … ONE 5 second audience reaction shot from them. Keep them away from microphones and stages. No shade, but since when do exes get so much air time? We’ve heard enough from them.

[By the way, if you’re still reading this, round of applause – I’m impressed that you hung in there this long.] You may be thinking I’m being extra and you may be correct, but this is important… Dare I say critical? BET we want you to be great. PLEASE BE GREAT. What do you need us to do? Say some extra prayers? Don’t be afraid to take this one to the Altar – The Word says “lean not unto your own understanding”. Come on and let yourself be led by the Spirit BET. DO US PROUD.

Additional Notes for All You Other Award shows:

  •  MTV VMAs: Don’t be too proud to do a video montage of iconic Prince videos and performances. We’ll also accept an award in his name (not to be shared with David Bowie).
  • AMAs: A video montage of Prince’s AMA performances. If BET does what we need them to do – between that and the Paisley Park memorial, there won’t be much left for you anyway.
  • NAACP Image Awards: Musical performance tribute using whomever BET doesn’t use. Yall have so many examples, this should be easy for you. (NAACP Image Awards)
  • Grammy’s: A musical performance using whoever BET and NAACP doesn’t use. No new people, no big names for the sake of big names.
  • Oscar’s: A mention in “In Memorium” segment. Contact whomever you need to contact now so they can submit whatever paperwork is needed. We will accept NO excuses for Prince’s name being left out. He starred, produced, and/or directed at least 5 films, one of which he won an Oscar for meaning he at one time was a voting member of The Academy. This is not a drill, no excuses.
  • Golden Globes: See Oscar’s note above.
  • Any relevant Fashion Award Shows: Video Montage. We don’t need anything else from you.

To end on a high note and as a thank you to all who made it this far… bask in the awesomeness of The Purple One – #sigh this is who we lost L

#NothingCompares2U

21.Apr – { :: Dearly Beloved… :: } with Tina Nagbare

Osay.-2

I could not and will not allow this day to pass without acknowledging the loss of an icon. I don’t know what words I have for now, but I would like to send a shoutout and thank you to all of my friends and social media acquaintances for their calls, texts, inbox messages, and posts to notify and/or check in on me today. And to my co-workers who understood my grief – especially my staff member who ran around the office to find me when they learned the news, then called my phone twice while I was in a meeting, THEN sent me an email. <3
“Thinking about how we mourn artists we’ve never met. We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.”
Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows how much I love Prince. I randomly quote him on my social media, am known to comment via a shady Prince meme, and sometimes just a random post/rant reminding you all that your #fav could never and will never be on his level. I have 2 copies of Purple Rain that I watch regularly – one on VHS that a coworker got me this year for my birthday & one on DVD that I travel with because… one should have Purple Rain available when you find yourself in the mood to watch Purple Rain. Anything else is uncivilized. My room is accented in purple, and yes, my purple candle is burning as I type this.
Prince could be described a millions ways – some that many blogs, articles, and social media posts have already mentioned or will in the coming weeks and months. Outside of his artistry and genius he was a favorite of mine for 2 MAIN reasons:
(1) he was unapologetically himself. You didn’t have to like it or understand it. You could mock it or roll your eyes. But he stayed true to himself to the end – mini afro, glitter staff, kitten heels, and a purple bike included. And he was Black AF.
(2) He took his work and art seriously, but not himself. He knew how to be goofy and silly and he let us see it. Just do a search for his farewell to Bryant Gumbel or any hilarious story that other celebrities have about their Prince encounters or if you ever got to see him live – you saw it in person.
I don’t fan out over any artist or celebrity even those I truly admire or enjoy, with 2 exceptions – Prince and Sade. It was a life goal to see him live, which thankfully I did just a few weeks ago at one of his surprise shows in The Bay that I made it my business to be at and I’m glad that I did. That’s the only thing that makes this even slightly bearable. Who knows if this will ever truly register. But for now I shall handle my grief like a true Aquarius: go numb, pretend it didn’t happen, then eventually return to life as close to normal as possible.
Today, I’ll try to process this the way he’d want us to… https://youtu.be/T5YL9PNWIfI?t=7m28s      #RIPPurpleOne :’-(
“Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own”

13.Jan – { The Final State of the Union } with Tina Nagbare

Osay.-2

Admittedly, this probably the laziest post I’ve ever written, but I’m working on not policing myself as much in 2016 and in general I think I’m funny (save your commentary for yourself).

So last night was the final State of the Union (SOTU) address that we will get from Pres. Barack Obama (POTUS) and I was sad about that. ‘Why?’ you ask? Because he’s the first President I’ve seen that has made these interesting. You may or may not like his politics, but you must concede that this man is charming, has charisma, and knows how to give an engaging speech with *just* the right amount of sarcasm and snark (2 things I enjoy the most). But also…. #Blackness. Yes, I said that. And yes, I mean it. So it shouldn’t be surprising that there were AfAms gathered across the country for SOTU Watch Parties – because Blacks will always throw a party. Why? Simple, we are good at it.
So I – in all of glorious Blackness – joined my fellow Bougie Black Comrades. We gathered. We introduced. We drank. We watch-partied. I must admit, I was expecting one of the Blackest Presidential moments in history. My dream was for POTUS to mimic Michael B. Jordan’s fight entrance in CREED, including wearing a hood (robe optional) and blasting 2Pac’s ‘Hail Mary’ in the background, but I guess that was asking for too much. Either way, below is my non-political commentary throughout POTUS’ address provided through a combination of my FB feed posts, live commentary, and random thoughts.
  • I expect shade. I expect petty. ‪#‎LehGo‬ LOL
  • 2ND line in…. Shade. ‪#‎StartedEarly‬ (Re: POTUS’ line about folks needing to get back to Iowa and his availability to give tips/advice.) 
  • Who’s church mother is this next to Jill Biden in her Easter outfit? I need answers. ‪#‎SOTU‬ (Luvvie provided them. Thanks!) <She looks like her middle name is ‘Mae’>
  • Paul Ryan REFUSES to allow his face to move. It’s like the GOP has banned any emotional reaction to anything the POTUS says.
  • ‪#‎ClimateControlShade‬ – “…If anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely.” lol”
  • 1. Income & Economic Equality; 2. Education; 3. Climate Change; NOW >> 4. Foreign Policy…. ‪#‎SOTU‬
  • OH!!!!! Now all the heads of the military wanna stand up???? #petty ‪#‎SOTU‬
  • GOP won’t even clap for shit they agree with. ‪#‎childish‬ ‪#‎WhySoPetty‬ ‪#‎SOTU‬ lol
  • ‪#‎AskOsamaBinLaden‬ ‪#‎ClapbackSeason‬ ‪#‎LASTSOTU‬
  • Aye! Ryan just gave us a head nod! This is progress. More than we’ve gotten in 8 years from Boehner.
  • #Message “It’s the lesson of Vietnam. it’s the lesson of Iraq and we should have learned it by now.” -POTUS ‪#‎SOTU‬
  • CSPAN has the shadiest camera men. Lmao! ‪#‎SOTU‬
  • “Did someone just yell ‘Preach’?” (I heard it…. I’m telling you I heard it.)
  • “Who is this lady standing in agreeance? This is not church ma’am.”
  • Who invited the anti-marriage equality lady? And why did they ONLY tell her to wear her absolute finest sweater from Ross Dress For Less? #shade
  • I mean…. I feel for Congress. this is like the LONGEST staff meeting ever. and you gotta do it once a year. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’ve dozed off once or twice. LOL ‪#‎SOTU‬
  • We just got a clap from Paul Ryan. This much progress in one evening… gives me hope.
  • “POTUS and Uncle Joe look like they’re going to have the greatest party ever when they leave that White House. And Jill will be with them…. never forget she wore knee boots to the first inauguration. That one knows how to party & I respect it.
  • We can’t take Trevor Noah ANYWHERE! #STOU
  • But the REAL winner of tonight…. With the fashionable slay…. ‪#‎FLOTUS‬ – you see her. Lol
  • I wanted POTUS to walk out with Back2Back playing in the background…‪#‎TooMuch‬ ??
Jokes aside…. I feel a level of responsibility in wrapping this up the right way. So allow me 2 quick points and then I’m gone.
  1. A friend brought up a REALLY great point which is that these responses to the State of the Union address need to stop and that is a note for BOTH sides. What is the point or the purpose in it? I mean really? That’s like the CEO giving an address on their vision for your company and then the Chairman of the Board of Directors saying, “That’s cute, but….”. Because really… I DON’T CARE. Because really I just want BOTH OF YALL to make sure my check comes through ON TIME. Whatever and however you need to work together to do it… make it happen. Your personal beefs and opinions… keep them.
  2. And also…. Nikki Haley. WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU, YOU NEED MORE PEOPLE. Every single time she uses that “child of immigrants in the South” line I cannot help but to roll my eyes. She looks like she’s been passing her whole life – rejected all of her melanin and her identity.SHE GOES BY NIKKI HALEY. Someone else said it best when they commented: And now for the Grand Old Party response from South Carolina Governor, Nimrata Randhawa, or as she now identifys, Nikki Haley.” That was shade in case you are wondering, but it is also fact. If you are trolling for POC, 1stGen, or immigrant votes – you will have to do better, ma’am. You deal with folks misspelling and verbally destroying your God-given name like the rest of us or I have no time for you and your antics.
If you missed the 2016 SOTU you can read POTUS’ full speech HERE or watch it on YouTube. Yes, it is long, but if this was some stripper’s Twitter tale of her weekend in Tampa on Twitter you’d make the time…. so make the time now.
But really FLOTUS slayed though. It is important to me that yall get that. Check her Evolution of Slay below/above/where ever he puts the picture… YOU SEE HER
12541062_10205106411972257_6313830635775774687_n
– Tina

7 Jan – { New Year, New Us Looking Mug }

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The writers here at Kennethology wanted to do something different than what we did last year “25 Things That Need to Stay in 2014” – and although we troll everyone that makes resolutions, we felt the need to share ours for this year of great expectations.

Osay.-2

From Tina:

1. To be petty as possible. This is an enhancement on last year’s midyear goal to give up being the bigger person. i’m not making an intentional decision to be as petty as humanely possible at my own discretion.
2. I resolve to not give white folks a break. i’mm burn a candle for your tears.
3. Say no to fkc boys. (As noted last year, this is a lifelong recurring rule)
— this year… I shall also terrorize them. Because…. See #1
4. Be better with my money. And by be better I mean – spend it how I want even if that means I blow $200 on tacos. Shut up. Lol
5. I resolve to force Kenneth to fix his fkcing memory. It got worse last year. How that is possible… Only the devil knows.
photo-4
From Sydney:
1.  I resolve to kick more small children that I see wylin the fawk out in grocery stores. If their parents won’t discipline them, I feel it is my duty to step in. I might even buy a cape. No mask though. I want them to remember my face. No Child Left Without their Behind whooped. Selah.
2.  I resolve to hold my purse tighter around white men and to yell “Unclean” and point at then whilst doing it. You know…to be fair. I like fair.
3.  I resolve to eat more animals. All things that had a parent. I’m trying to build lean muscle and most wild animals are great in protein. I know most vegetarians and vegans will place 1000 poxes on my house for this, which is fine, as long as they also are high in protein.
4.  Lastly, I resolve to break every mirror in Ken’s house, including his phone. He still takes too many selfies and I blame these drunk ass mirrors who keep pumping his already monstrous head up. We get it muffoccur, you swole. Shit
Tina’s commentary on Sydney’s resolution:  “Maybe because his memory sucks…. And he forgets that he just took a selfie 5 mins ago. Like goldfish…”
Sydney’s response to Tina’s commentary on her resolution:  “Dude. He stay on selfie lol

Blowing me. Nobody forgot how you looked. ‘Cept maybe your bad memory having ass…”
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From Kenneth:  
1.  Take way more selfies – the people need to know how I look.  I know I have a John Salley-Miguel Nunez type face…but I’ve learned to love this long face – and I want others to love it too.  Trust me, the people want this.
2.  Get more sleep that is not induced by ZzzQuil – even though on the bottle it says it’s non-habit forming…what I find is addictive is the sleep that comes from the drug…but NOT the drug itself…so I’m good.
3.  Wear way more black.
4.  Sculpt a Michael B. Jordanesque type body…Kenny Creed what they call me.  I would join a boxing gym and box…but the notion of sparring and someone knocking me out might get them shot.  Because black-on-black violence.
5.  Seek clinical help regarding my horrific memory.  It has gotten worse – and it’s to the point i barely even care.  I don’t remember and I don’t care…which is horrible.
6. Not only listen to more – but actually embody the essence of the ratchet music I listen to.
– Kenneth

16.Aug – { “Hell You Talmbout” – The Question/Song of a Movement } with Tina Nagbare

Osay.-2

I was living and minding my own business on Thursday when Janelle Monáe blessed us with a new track out of nowhere. In case you missed it I’m talking about “Hell You Talmbout”. If you haven’t heard it yet, I invite to pause for a moment and go listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout

No really, I’ll wait. Go listen. https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout

I’m a fan of Janelle Monáe, but this isn’t just about my fandom (she’s awesome though) – how does she do this? Why does she do this to us? I’m still trying to recover from “Yoga”.

There has been a lot of talk about Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” being the song of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’m not fighting that, but it’s never really resonated with me in that way. I needed something more – something to evoke fight in me when I got tired and not a ‘feel good’ song. Then my girl Janelle showed up right on time. Oh! let me count the ways…

1. Title.
The name of the track is “Hell You Talmbout”. I actually just stared at it for several moments to process and eventually just nodded my head in agreement. I get it. Off top, she’s letting you know she doesn’t have the time. It’s not even a real question, it’s rhetorical. It’s a question that you ask with a screw face because you’re letting the person know you already don’t believe their answer. Why? Because we already know what you’re going to say won’t make sense. It’s actually in your best interest to acknowledge that the question was asked, but not attempt to answer it. Just stand there in silence and accept judgment. Kind of like when your mom asks you if ‘you’ve lost your mind’, but you don’t actually answer because you know better – an answer will only escalate the situation.

AND the phrase is written and said in the African-American Vernacular (some of you call it Ebonics) as if to say, no one gives a d**n about you and your proper English. She’s not here for your respectability politics, but we knew that when she told us to “get off my areola”, right? LOL! Unashamedly Black. PS: That’s STILL the greatest line I’ve ever heard sung.

2. Lyrics.
Ok, so I get past the title and the track starts (music and melody will be addressed next). The entire track is simply calling the names of those who have been slain at the hands of various levels of law enforcement and there are so many reasons why this is important.

a. No one was expecting this because…. how could we?

2) She has clearly aligned herself with the #BlackLivesMatter movement – on the slight chance there was any question. #SayHerName / #SayHisName has been one of the main campaigns of the movement to acknowledge that people of color are not just statistics or media headlines, but also people. They are full, entire human beings with families, friends, life goals, emotions, failures, ambitions, etc. and their humanity matters even in death – say their names. Those names…. those lives matter. Don’t forget that and ask yourself why there are so many names to be said.

 

And the *way* the names are said… with unexplainable levels of passion, exhaustion, and desperation. Is it just me or do the background vocals on the hook sound like the chorus of an old negro spiritual?? No? Just me being extra? Ok, fine.

iii. Context – She took me out by saying Emmitt Till. I wasn’t expecting that. By acknowledging that this is not merely current event content for our 24hr news cycles or add-ons to campaign reporting, she is reinforcing the message that these conditions of government-sanctioned abuse on Black bodies are the norm that Black people have been living under for generations. And like the race riots of the late 60s, we’re tired of it. The acknowledgement from Emmett Till to Sandra Bland is powerful. This is no new news, the struggle continues. That awakened something in me.

3. Melody.
Life. I got life from this track. I’m not a musician (unless 3 years of piano lessons counts for something), but I can recognize certain elements in how this song was composed and produced. And the first thing I heard was the drum. War drums were used for centuries in battle. It was a part of the communication system for troops and they were also used to let the soldiers know they were marching into battle and to help keep the pace. But the African in me loves a good drum. Drums are very an important symbol in African culture and they are present at practically every important event and/or celebration. We have celebration drums, talking drums, drums used in healing ceremonies, drums for rites of passage, drums to represent royalty, drums used in worship….. Listen… Africans love a dance ceremony and we love drums. I won’t lie; it took me a minute to even get past the drums and hear the rest of the song because there was something in that drumbeat that my body responded to immediately. Like performing a dance that pays homage to departed loved ones or that acknowledge the ancestors at the beginning of a ceremony. A dance that originates from deep in one’s spirit – from a place of reverence and respect. A dance that causes your body to move without you even noticing. This song activated that part within me – my African roots – almost immediately. And the more I listened to it, the more it gave me Fela Kuti type vibes. I like it.

THEN when I finally heard the HBCU marching band feel of the song I was done. I got all the feels. There is no mistaking there is something in this composition that links it back to African and/or African-American culture. I don’t even have words for it, just pure genius.

Well, this is it. This is what I was looking for – a battle song. A song that pulls from, as one person said, “deep in your spirit”. As far as I’m concerned Janelle Monáe has provided us with the protest song of the #BlackLivesMatter movement because it captures the rebelliousness, resilience and unapologetic attitude of our generation. This for me is our “We Shall Overcome” or better our “Strange Fruit”. But don’t worry, just like there are several songs associated with the Civil Rights Movement, there’s a place for “Alright” in our playlists as well. “Hell You Talmbout” just blows it out the water. #SorryNotSorry 🙂

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Janelle Monáe’s statement about the song: 

“This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves… Won’t you say their names?”
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