It's amazing to me that with all of the ills that plague the country that the NFL is seriously debating legislating the use of the N-Word during football games. The 4 letter network ESPN even dedicated a 1 hour special this past Sunday to the use of the word. The debate included hip-hop artist Common, and esteemed journalists Jason Whitlock, Michael Wilbon and Jemele Hill (all 3 of the journalists are employed by ESPN).
The N-Word and it's use has long had monetary impacts on the economy especially with it's common use in the hip-hop community. Many people may not realize that the hit song "My Hitta" by YG in it's clean form is really titled "My Nigga" in it's explicit version. While the song has been cleaned up to generate airplay on mainstream radio, the cleanliness doesn't eliminate the nastiness of the song and the negative connotation that it truly represents. "My Hitta" is presently the number 8 most popular song on the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart according to Billboard. It's been as high as #2 on the overall airplay list with Beyonce's "Drunk In Love" dominating everything R&B right now. "My Hitta" is a money maker bottom line and landed YG on the Arsenio Hall show for a performance of the song.
The NFL can try to legislate the use of the N-Word all it wants, and it's a popular topic to discuss on television debate shows but until the powers that be in music first and foremost take a stand on it's use, any debate about the use of the word is futile. It's cute for us to have an issue with Riley Cooper and Paula Deen using the word because they're of a different color. It's sad for us not to have an issue with a song titled "My Nigga"!
Once relevant hip-hop artist Da Brat was ordered to pay $6.4 million by a Cobb County, Georgia jury today, resulting from a 2007 attack against Shayla Stevens at a club owned by Jermaine Dupri. Da Brat, whose real name is Shawntae Harris has already served nearly 3 years of prison for the attack and remains on probation after hitting Stevens with a bottle and being convicted of aggravated assault.
Da Brat had a once promising career as a rapper, but has been rendered into near obscurity since her release from prison. Having a $6.4 million judgement attached to your reputation places even more negative attention on your brand. While I'm not sure of what Brat's options will be to settle the judgement, all celebrities need to be careful when they're committing intentional acts that cause bodily injury.
President Barack Obama introduced the most important initiative of his presidency today when he hosted an array of esteemed businessmen, political power brokers and other individuals of influence at the White House for the announcement of "My Brother's Keeper" which will focus on foundations and business leaders donating up to $200 million over a 5 year period to target minority youth of color.
Let's be honest, while esteemed writes like Jason Whitlock and Michael Wilbon debate over the relevance of the N-Word and how the NFL polices it's use, minority youth of color is the black communities achilles heel and future. While The Affordable Health Care Act is The President's signature legislation, being the first black president and initiating programs to positively impact the young black male would impact his legacy in a more meaningful way.
A gathering that attracts Colin Powell, Bill O'Reilly, Rev. Al Sharpton and Magic Johnson is meaningful for more than a nice photo op and networking.
It's been 3 long years since by last post on this site. I've missed so much, but so little has changed.
R&B music has been rendered nearly irrelevant unless you include the "ratchet" hip-hop that continues to hit the airwaves. Quality R&B is simply being ignored as evidenced by the recent Grammy awards. Nothing against John Legend, but when "All of Me" is the best that traditional R&B has to offer, audiences are being short changed big time.
LeBron James continues to be the dominant athlete that moves the meter at ESPN. Now that Tim Tebow has been rendered a quarterback fraud, LeBron is back to being Skip Bayless' whipping boy on "First Take". Continue to drown out the haters LeBron, you're doing just fine.
"Coming Out" is now the "In Thing" for the professional athlete. When did an athlete's sexual orientation trump performance on the court or field? Just curious.
Yesterday it was announced that singer El DeBarge is headed back to rehab due to a relapse in his battle to handle his drug addiction. El, who has been on tour promoting his album "Second Chance" obviously felt like things were going the wrong way for him, so he's done the right thing to seek help. The pressures of the music business are tough to deal with in the best of times, and El's recent album has failed to make a dent in terms of sales, but he's been on the road performing to earn a living and also to see if he could reinvigorate the record.
We have to wish El the best, drug addiction is a rough illness to deal with especially since he's back in the fishbowl of the music business.
Aaron Rodgers effectively took the Brett Favre torch away for the Green Bay Packers as he guided them to a sweet victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45 last night. Rodgers spent his first few years as Favre's understudy, but has shown that the time watching and studying prepared him well for the big stage. This, and the fact that he has a cannon of an arm that is as accurate as any quarterback in the league.
There's no guarantee that Rodgers will return to the big game, but for one night, he was the best player in the biggest game of the year. Preparation and patience have their place in the development of any great player, and Aaron Rodgers is making a lot of talent evaluators look very smart.
Yesterday a Florida judge ruled that the individual mandate of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform was unconstitutional, dealing a major blow to national healthcare going forward in the future. It will be interesting to see how hard the White House fights this decision, but it looks like the Supreme Court will make the ultimate decision. If our President is politically savvy, he would begin compromise meetings immediately, since national healthcare has been his signature accomplishment. Having the Supreme Court ultimately decide that it's not going to work would be a devastating blow to President Obama's reelection efforts.
President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address amidst the usual interruptions of clapping to recognize every statement that was made by the President. President Obama is keenly optimistic that the economy is stabilizing for the better, which may be news to individuals who are losing their jobs daily. The President hit all of the typical points in his speech, however, if he's not able to work with his Republican counterparts the speech will just be political rhetoric.
Republicans want to decrease spending and repeal the health care bill. President Obama asked Congress to work with him to improve the health care bill. Only time will tell if common sense will override political agendas to get the country moving in the right direction.
The Denver Nuggets has a major dilemma on their hands with star forward Carmelo Anthony. They would rather continue to have him as a member of their team, however, "Melo" doesn't want to be with them any more even though he he as a players' option for about $18 million for next year and an offer from the Nuggets for a 3 year, $65 million just waiting for his signature. Carmelo has decided that he'd rather be a free agent and sign with the team of his choice rather than sign the contract extension. The Nuggets fearing that Anthony will leave without any form of compensation would of course prefer to trade him, but of course teams are reluctant to trade for the star unless Anthony agrees to the contract extension.
Carmelo Anthony is arguably one of the top 10 players in the NBA, but there's no way he's leaving a potential $83 million on the table. While the Nuggets would prefer compensation, I would force "Melo" to play out the season and cut the drama that's hampered the team's performance over the last month. The Nuggets has the potential to make some noise in the playoffs, so just ride it out with their star player and let the future take care of itself.
R&B singer Keyshia Cole announced via Twitter that she had relieved longtime manger Manny Halley of his duties. Cole, whose latest CD "Calling All Hearts" has sold poorly appears to be reassessing her career direction with the disappointing sales of her latest effort. Perhaps new management will turn things in the right direction for Cole, but a hit record always eases a lot of pain for an artist used to platinum success.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that a suspect has been arrested in the two month search for the "Kensington Strangler." Antonio Rodriquez was arrested yesterday after police received an anonymous tip and also matched his DNA to 3 murder victims. Rodriquez was also wanted for an outstanding bench warrant for a previous drug arrest, and police are awaiting a conclusive match with his DNA sample. Stories like these continue to be disturbing, but hopefully the Philly police have their man, and the streets are a little safer, less one more criminal.
As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday it's always interesting to take a look at the progress that African Americans have made in areas of prominence. Sports seems to be the one vocation where performance ultimately dictates a person's success, however, in the areas of authority that equality hasn't necessarily correlated. While football is America's most popular sport, and African Americans comprise 75 to 80 percent of the players in the NFL, there are 6 African American coaches for the 32 teams, a percentage of 19 percent.
The 6 African American coaches in the NFL, while a major accomplishment still leaves some room for improvement. Tony Dungy is the only African American coach to win a Super Bowl, but his legacy within the game will stand forever as he has lead the support for promoting diversity within the league. Two of his former assistants Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin still have their teams in the mix for winning the big game this year. If Dr. King were living, hopefully he'd be satisfied with the progress that's been made in the NFL.
By now everyone has heard the story of Ted Williams, who caught the eye of a Columbus Dispatch reporter with a sign that he had the "God Given Gift of Voice." Williams has become a YouTube sensation and received numerous job offers including an offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He just announced on "The Today Show" that Kraft Foods has even offered him a job to do voice over work for one of their products. Williams, who is 53 years-old states that he has 9 children and is a recovering drug and alcohol abuser.
Williams' story has a chance to end well despite his problems with abuse and the crime issues. Interesting that prospective employers are accepting his sketchy background, but will not give others opportunities who also have had issues. Perhaps Ted Williams' story will also be a wake up call for employers as well. Only In America!
N.B.A. Hall of Famer turned New York Knicks broadcaster Walt Frazier had Twitter abuzz last night when he wore the sports jacket pictured above while broadcasting the Knicks/Spurs basketball game. During his playing days Frazier was renowned for his sense of style as a New York Knicks point guard. It's cool to see that "Clyde" still has it.
Yesterday it was reported that Mark Zuckerberg's billion dollar baby, social networking site Facebook now has a paper valuation of $50 billion based on an investment infusion of $500 million. Zuckerberg's expected to take Facebook public next year which should put in direct competition with Google in terms of valuation.
Zuckerberg is only 26, and easily living the American dream. As of right now, Facebook generates revenue of about $2 billion annually. It will be interesting to see what steps it takes in the future to keep the revenue numbers rising.
I must admit that hearing the news that music legend Chuck Berry had to leave a concert performance in Chicago this weekend surprised me. Berry, who is 84 years-old and still performing his Rock & Roll classics such as "Maybelline," had to leave the concert stage in Chicago due to exhaustion according to his manager. Chuck Berry has to be the Joe Paterno of music to still be performing at his pace. Hopefully he will listen to his body and shut the performances down if necessary just to rest.
Word started spreading quickly last night that R&B singer Teena Marie had died yesterday after being found unconscious at home by her daughter. Initially on Twitter it was being treated as a hoax, but was later found to be true and so unfortunate. Teena Marie was first signed to Motown Records in 1976, and later became the protege of Rick James who produced her first album "Wild and Peaceful." This album is a classic record and features my favorite Teena Marie song, "Deja Vu."
It's becoming increasingly sad when artists are remembered more fondly after they pass away. Teena Marie was an icon and a legend. Her early music is truly classic and should be listened to in order to truly appreciate her immense talent. Rest In Peace Teena Marie, we were fortunate to have you with us for 54 years. Thankfully you left us with some great music.
Keyshia Cole releases her 4th CD tomorrow titled "Calling All Hearts." All 3 of Cole's previous efforts have been certified platinum, but she may have a difficult time duplicating her previous efforts in terms of sales. 2 singles have already been released for "Hearts" and neither has yet to chart in any significant way which is not a good sign for the CD.
Keysia's life has changed quite a bit since her last CD "A Different Me" was released 2 years ago. She has had a baby and become engaged, so personally she's in good place. Career wise she's still making music, but may have to downplay expectations just a little in terms of future record sales.
When President Barack Obama hastily paraded former president Bill Clinton out for a press briefing on Friday, it gave a hint of desperation for all of the criticism that President Obama has received for agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts that have been in effect for 10 years. Democrats have berated the President for caving in to Republican pressure.
President Obama did what makes political sense at a time when the economy is still in turmoil. Getting Bill Clinton to c0-sign on the measure should give him some credibility with the American people, something he's been searching for since he took office nearly 2 years ago.
Word spread yesterday that the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is battling pancreatic cancer. All that we really know is that Franklin underwent an undisclosed surgery last week and was doing well. Friends and family remain tight lipped regarding her condition, but prayer vigils have been taking place for the last week.
Aretha Franklin is one of the greatest female singers in history regardless of genre. Still only 68 years old, it would be such a tragedy to lose her so soon without hearing that treasure of a voice to serenade us.
Wesley Snipes is putting on the all out press in an effort to stay out of prison. He's scheduled to report to a Pennsylvania prison tomorrow to serve a 3 year stint after being convicted of willfully failing to file tax returns between 1999 and 2001. Snipes appeared on "The Larry King Show" last night with his attorney in an effort to gain public support I assume. Snipes states that he's paid all of the taxes owed and feels he hasn't received just punishment. While I didn't follow the case, when dealing with federal officials it's probably a good idea to be contrite and cooperative. Snipes appeared to be just a little arrogant in his appearance on King's show. Arrogance is not a good look when dealing with the feds.
Diddy's latest musical concoction Dirty Money made an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend performing "Coming Home" and some other song that used Swizz Beats as the hype man. The fact that the group didn't perform "Hello Good Morning" or "Loving You No More" is quite interesting. The group's debut CD "Last Train To Paris" will be released next week, but it seems as if Diddy has been promoting this record for a year. Already on at least the third single, it looks like the record will go "aluminum foil" as I like to state when a record bombs.
The group, which seems like Diddy and his back up singers, Dawn Richards and Kalenna Harper is another vehicle to promote the brand that is Diddy, which is a disservice to the two talented young women.
LeBron James returned to Cleveland last night with his new team the Miami Heat, and while his beginning with the Heat has been more than a little rocky, James' return to Cleveland was downright hostile. Fans booed him every time he touched the ball, and called him 7 letter words throughout the festivities in what could conservatively be called a bludgeoning as the Heat throttled the Cleveland Cavaliers. James had a simply spectacular 3rd quarter, ultimately scoring 38 points and sitting out the 4th quarter as the Heat won the game 118 to 90.
I listened to a Cleveland sports radio station leading up to the game and the hostility towards James is truly unhealthy for Cleveland fans. They had last night to get their sense of loss out of their system. It's obvious that LeBron has moved on, now maybe the fans of Cleveland will do the same.
El DeBarge's latest CD hits stores today amid as much fanfare as can be created outside of the marketing budgets of Kanye West and Nicki Minaj. El's CD is titled "Second Chance" and this is his statement to fans after being away from the music scene for 16 years and falling as low as a person can fall while dealing with drug abuse and prison time. El's comeback record should not be judged based on sales because the music landscape is crowded with releases over the next few weeks. El's voice is still magnificent and he's working with the likes of Babyface and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis so expectations in terms of quality should be high and hopefully will not disappoint.
When LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade to form the Miami Heat Big 3, pundits were predicting the team winning 70 plus games and cruising to a championship. As of today the team has a record of 9 and 8 and holding closed door meetings with speculation that head coach Eric Spoelstra will be supplanted as coach by team architect Pat Riley. Needless to say the team is in chaos, and blame is being thrown at everyone participating in what is turning out to be a big mess.
I've seen the team play a few times this year, and the biggest problem is that LeBron and Wade are the same player and both need the ball to be effective. It appears that both players are too stubborn to change their style, which will be a shame when in 2 or 3 years one of the big 3 is traded because the team hasn't met expectations. 17 games is a small sample size in which to judge the new look Heat, but the temperature keeps rising in Miami with each passing loss.