While I’m not an entertainment or a gossip writer sharing the latest juice – actually I’m kind of stingy with juice so says a friend of mine in Miami – I do have some updates and thoughts to share so lets get started.
Erykah Badu has something to say about the controversial video for her cover of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time I Saw Your Face.” Apparently the video was a rough draft and uncut version released by Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. The release of the video was without Badu’s consent. She took to twitter to really let her feelings be known after attempting to dialog with Coyne. It’s obvious the dialog didn’t ease Badu’s mind as she calls Coyne an “ass” for apparently disregarding her artistic integrity. Actually, her comments to Coyne came off as “I love and respect you, but you
f——ed fucked me over and I don’t play that!”
Part of her twitter statement directly to Coyne reads:
“You obviously have a misconception of who I am artistically. I don’t mind that but…
By the way you are an ass.
Yu did everything wrong from the on set .
You showed me a concept of beautiful tasteful imagery( by way of vid text messages) .
I trusted that. I was mistaken.
Then u release an unedited, unapproved version within the next few days.
That all spells 1 thing ,
Self Serving .
When asked what the concept
meant after u explained it , u replied ,”it doesn’t mean anything , I just want to make a great video that everyone is going to watch. ”
I understood , because as an artist we all desire that. But we don’t all do it at another artist’s expense .” - Erykah Badu.
I still stand my earlier assessment of the video as do a few other folks I know that didn’t seem bothered by it. I do understand Badu’s feelings though, which is why I guess the day after the release she was picking her fans and critics’ brains. After all, she has stated to us before – “I’m an artist, so you know I’m sensitive about my shit,” – a sentiment that all artists (including myself as a writer) can resonate with. Do I feel duped that the uncut video doesn’t have a real meaning? Not at all. Only because, in some way it took on an art form intentional or not. It came out in a very unconventional way, but I think it’s there. Then again, I’m not an art critic that can spot the linear points to a piece. *insert shrug*
America we have new poet laureate. Gulfport, Mississippi native Natasha Trethewey has been named America’s 19th poet laureate. Trethewey is also the poet laureate for her home state and will serve both titles simultaneously. She’s the first African-American poet (since Rita Dove in 1993) and the first hailing from the south, since the initial recipient, to receive the prestigious title. The first southern poet laureate was Robert Penn Warren from Kentucky. Warren, a known poet and novelist, published Who Speaks for the Negro?; a collection of interviews he did with civil rights leaders.
Black Book Magazine describes Trethewey’s work as poems that are “tied deeply to memory and feature simple, but stark and evocative images.” Trethewey told the Associated Press she started writing in response to the loss of her mother who was killed by her step father. Her pen has been moving ever since. In 2007 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems entitled Native Guard, whose topic or theme was based upon the erased and not recorded history; such of that was of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black civil war regime assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers on the Gulf Coast’s Ship Island.
“People who never had written poems or turned much to poetry turned to it at that moment because it seems like the only thing that can speak the unspeakable,” Trethewey told the Associated Press.
Trethewey comes from a family of poets. Her father Eric Trethewey is also a poet and college professor. However, Natasha wanted to do more than just write poetry. She wanted to tell full stories, so off she went to graduate school and studied fiction. She is an English and creative writing professor at Emory University.
Read the full New York Times article on Trethewey here. Also, for those that are unsure, you can read the full position description and history of the title poet laureate on the Library of Congress website.
I have to admit I was tardy for the party when it came to the web series The Mis-Adventures of an Awkward Black Girl (ABG). I finally took time (the day after the first season ended) to catch up and see what every cool kid was talking about. For those of you who are still late to the party, ABG is the creation of up and coming producer, writer and director Issa Rae (pictured in the pink dress). Rae stars as the main character, J, who is a self-described awkward black girl. She barely tolerates her job working at a call center for a weight loss product and her obnoxious co-workers; with the exception of another girl who shares in her awkwardness and a new guy that J slowly develops a crush on. Throughout the series J has to navigate her feelings through a maze of awkwardness while avoiding confrontation with her nemesis Nina. Her journey is further complicated when a white guy, also named “Jay,” (aka White Jay as he is come to be known in the series) comes into the picture and expresses interest in J.
The script is written with wit and hilarity as J’s awkwardness is laced with quirks; such as when she really wants to get her feelings out she busses an impromptu rap (in the privacy of her home. Remember she’s passive aggressive.)
After having a kick starter fundraiser and teaming up with director Dennis Dortch of ”A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy” fame (he directed a few episodes of ABG towards the end of the season), Rae and company have picked up a partnership with musician Pharrell and his You Tube channel “I Am Other.” Season 2 is set to premier on the I Am Other channel June 14. Here’s the trailer which briefly recaps season 1.
You can view the full 12 episodes of ABG season 1 on Rae’s You Tube channel right here. Each episode is no longer than 15 minutes.
By now our local disaster in DC politics has gone national. It’s the morning after a debacle that our Council Chairperson, Kwame Brown, has stepped down amid a charge against his personal finances. Brown is being charged with fraud for lying to a bank about his income while applying for a home loan. Brown’s situation is one of three major investigations going on between the U.S. Attorney’s office and D.C. elected officials. The other two investigations include alleged dirty tactics and illegal payouts during Mayor Gray’s 2010 run for mayor. So far it seems that the dirty deeds were carried out by people working with Gray and not by the man himself. A third investigation concerns Jeff Thompson, a contractor that has made major financial contributions to the campaigns of several city council members.
Yesterday’s mayhem over Brown came as no surprise as his personal finances came up during his 2010 campaign, as then opponent Vincent Orange (now presently sitting in an at-large seat) brought up the issue. What has many shaking their heads is what took place the day before yesterday. On Tuesday, the city council was in the middle of passing amendments and even a big budget. Yet, reporters still have the investigations on the brain and (as always) found an opening to ask questions about such. I should note that investigation into Brown goes beyond his personal finances as officials are trying to figure out if he illegally gave money to his brother during his 2008 campaign.
Side note: A few moments ago it has been reported that Brown has now been charged with a misdemeanor on one count of making an unlawful cash campaign expenditure. This is in addition to yesterday’s fraud charges.
At some point on Tuesday he was asked about his feelings on the (then) impending charges. As bold as ever, Brown proclaimed he was confident he would be ok and had no plans to resign regardless.
Oooooooooo…. *deep inhale and slow exhale*
I wish.. I wish.. I wish… he didn’t make that statement. Within 24 hours he suffered a great unfortunate fall. Sadly, I do believe it was kicked off by his “I’m not resigning” statement. In my mind I see the U.S. Attorney keeping a close eye on him and saw him on the news making such a claim. The timing of everything seemed too much in concert as if the U.S. Attorney quietly called “check mate” and began to pull the rug from under Brown.
Enters my thoughts on why every DC Politician needs an Olivia Pope, this fictional character to ABC’s latest hit series Scandal (which I absolutely love and grateful that ABC is giving it a second season)…….
To be honest Marion Barry already had his version of Olivia Pope. In truth, he had the real one, Judy Smith. Scandal, though greatly exaggerated, is inspired by Smith, a powerful crisis management dynamo. I was completely floored by the fact that not only is Smith, a native Washingtonian and an African-American female, but her crisis management skills are impeccable and her client list (that once included Barry) speaks for itself.
To be honest, this is one of those times when I do wish or think that perhaps I should sway my journalism skills in the direction of public relations; in particular crisis management. From my observations, DC politicians flub a lot in the media and even social media and it’s usually the same ones; Brown, Barry, (former council member) Harry Thomas. I recently told my own council member that, although she has gotten better at responding to her constituents on Twitter, I use to cringe and want to yank her account away because she didn’t need to respond to every little comment (good or bad) directed at her on the social media site. Yes, you want to and pretty much need to be visible to the public, but sometimes I question and worry if Twitter is really helping or damaging a politician’s reach. What did they do before social media?
It’s going to be interesting to see how Brown “cleans” up his image in the wake of all of this. He should have stuck to his old methods of staying quiet for a while (from when he was being called Full Loaded) and worked with a crisis management person to figure out a strategy. Sure, eventually he would have to answer to the public, but gosh darnit, don’t go out and commit career suicide and say “NO!” when you don’t know if you are totally in the clear yet.
A large part of me wishes I felt comfortable to know all the ropes of crisis management to consult in a situation such a this. Is it awkward that I feel the slightest bit of hunger for a situation like this, to want to jump in and help save the image a bit, even after the damage has been done? Maybe this is my big clue or calling that I’ve been running from; that so many of my other friends (including a PR pro) has been nudging me to try.
Yes, I’ve been running from public relations in particularly with politics. Don’t ask. I’m not exactly sure why myself. I see the writing on the wall “CRISIS MANAGEMENT.” Who knows… maybe I am the next Judy Smith….
On a final note, today is his Royal Purpleness’ birthday. Prince Rogers Nelson turns 54 today. As one of his long time, big fans I have to play nothing but Prince today. Let’s all play a Prince tune in honor of his day and jam!