Last night, BET debuted its season premiere of sitcom The Game, after it was being cancelled by the CW network and put into a hiatus for more than a year and a half.

The reemergence of new episodes on a different network showed the power of social media and the show’s huge fan base. Fans weren’t happy when they found out the show was cancelled, especially when The Game was the only predominately Black sitcom on the CW (once Girlfriends went off the air). It catered to an audience that seemed to be neglected and, were stereotyped on other sitcoms (I’ll get into this later) or didn’t have major roles.

Quick Background

The Game first premiered in 2006 as a spinoff of the long-running CW sitcom, Girlfriends. With the growing success of Girlfriends, the series’ creator, Mara Brock Akil, and producers decided to capitalize on their success and create a second series that would serve as a spinoff. And, The Game was born!

Let’s move on.

There was a ton of hype leading up to the new episodes.

  • Reruns – to get viewers caught up, of course… or reacquainted with the characters.
  • 15-second and 30-second commercial sports reminding viewers not to forget these numbers: 1/11/11. As it got closer to that date, the more commercials we saw. The spots varied in diversity. Some were traditional, straight-to-the point: “The Game. 1/11/11. Will you be watching? *cue theme music*” Others were more personal and allowed viewers to get to know the characters for who they were: real people. A few shared moments where they met fans/reactions and others talked about their favorite episodes. It allowed you to get excited about the show and see the actors and actresses in another light.
  • Radio and television interviews with the main cast – always a plus, and although some of the questions may overlap, it lets them reach out to different audiences they may have not penetrated through other channels.

The Debut

Admittedly, I was looking forward to The Game’s return. In my recent knowledge, I couldn’t remember anything like this happening, so I was very happy. Not just because I was ready to be entertained, but I was excited for the cast, as well as the creator, producers, writers and everyone that had anything to do with its production. But… I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I won’t call out other failed shows, sitcoms or award shows, but BET has a history of messing up a good thing or a potentially good thing.

I was disappointed in the change in characters’ behavior and attitudes.

  • Melanie and Derwin didn’t appear to be as happy as I expected, nor did they show as much of their married life as I would have liked. What happened with their relationship? Obviously, since a lot of drama will be unfolding between them with the stunt Melanie pulled, their connection should have been a little more solid.
  • Granted, Malik has always been full of himself and self-righteous jerk, but it seemed to be at an all-time high. Wasn’t feeling it.
  • Why did Brit-Brat go from being 8 years old (only two years) to 16, now? Yet, Derwin’s son, DJ didn’t mature that fast? If that’s the case, everyone should be on the same age plan and DJ should be at least 6 years old, no?
  • Why was Tasha Mack smoking a black? How embarrassing! Remember those stereotypes I referenced earlier? Yeah, that.
  • What happened to the laugh tracks? I only laughed a few times, and I counted them on one hand. I could always count on Tee-Tee and Tasha for a good chuckle but Tee-Tee must’ve lost his funny bone during the hiatus.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about Kelly’s bitterness. She was a little over-the-top and she stepped on other people’s toes in an attempt to fulfill her celebrity. Then again, that’s real-life.

So much happened within that hour, especially with it being the first episode. Aside from the script, some of the shots and transitions were awkward. I’m hoping the show improves its faults based on the feedback it receives from critics and fans. This could be a huge turn around for BET. But please, step away from the negative archetypes.

So… what did you think?


According to the NY Times, the New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Department released the advertisement on YouTube and television in December, hoping to show viewers that even though an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, neither does treatment guarantee good health.

In fact, when you get HIV, it’s never just HIV. You’re at a higher risk for dozens of diseases even if you take medications, like osteoporosis, dementia, and anal cancer. Tough consequences that makes you think twice before not using a condom.

The public service message has been criticized as disgraceful and exaggerated, but some say it’s needed to get younger people to take the disease seriously.

What do you think?

(For more information, visit click here)


Definition of Femcees

Female rappers, or “femcees” as they are often called has caused quite controversy on just the name itself. Should MCs, who just happen to be female be put into their own category, or be included in the general group of all rappers, regardless of gender? I mean, if you are hot, you’re hot, no?

In my opinion, “femcee” does make it hard for female lyricists to be compared to her male companions, not because her rhymes aren’t just as good, but because before we can even criticize what she’s saying, we’re putting her in a separate category.

Nicki (Minaj) can’t be compared to Kanye (West) because she’s a female. Forget what she’s talking about. Stack her up to Lauryn (Hill) or Lil Kim. Until she’s able to grow some balls and a mustache, she can’t be matched up.

Journalist Toure says: To call an MC who is female a femcee is to insult her. He then asked, “Since MC and rapper isn’t gendered, is there any reason to use the term?”

Is that the mentally that using the word “femcee” forces us to use? Alternatively, was the word just created as a sense of empowerment for female lyricists when in the 80s, hip-hop was a male-dominated industry and you had (female) rappers like MC Lyte, Roxanne, Queen Latifah and Salt n Pepa breaking barriers?

Something was needed to classify them since they hadn’t been represented and it seemed like “femcee,” an abbreviation for female MC was more than appropriate; liberating for those who aspired to be like them, who in the coming years, paved the way for artists like Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Eve, Rah Digga, and now, the popular Nicki Minaj. Then there are artists who are lyrically great but are not known by the public, but rather only those in the local area or true hip-hop heads, like Jean Grae and others.

The Menstrual Blood Bath

Nicki Minaj. Lil Kim. Foxy Brown. Talented? Check. Successful? Kim and Foxy, definitely back in their heyday. Nicki’s time seems to now. Sexy? Overly. Why was this done? You know the sexed-up images, tight clothes, big tits, tiny waists and enlarged asses? Well, to appeal to the male audience, of course. Although males had artists, they could relate to, they could salivate over these women. Females looked at them as sex icons and tried to emulate them. For some artists, it provided an asylum from the restrictions of black female sexual expression. Jackie Brown, anyone?

But. Kim and Nicki in particular, compared themselves to Barbies, which is a problem in itself; because now you have young children who also idolize them because they, Nicki Minaj in particular, are like animated, life-sized dolls, who spit sexual lyrics that are to mature for someone of their age to understand.

Recently, there has been a heated battle between two of the Barbies, Nicki and Lil Kim. Kim claimed Nicki didn’t pay enough homage to her because Nicki totally snagged her style. However, in many of the interviews I’ve listened to, when asked who influenced Nicki, she names Kim as one of her main idols.

“I respect you. I love you. I’ve said it in every interview time and time again,” Nicki said about Kim. “And if that’s not good enough for you, mama, there’s something deep-rooted in you. … That’s your insecurity bothering you. It’s not Nicki Minaj.” – Nicki Minaj/Angie Martinez Interview – Hot 97

So, where does the hate come in? Yeah, I’m as clueless as you are. Over the summer, Kim did a round of interviews dissing Nicki and Young Money, saying Nicki was nothing more than a knock-off. It took Nicki some time to formally respond, she put her frustration into a song titled Roman’s Revenge (the Hot 97 interview wasn’t until after Roman’s Revenge was released).

Kim followed up with Black Friday, playing off Nicki’s album, Pink Friday.

“I’ve seen them come/I’ve seen them go/Still I remain, sweetie/You going on your 14th minute of fame,” she raps. Kim later warns that she’s going to turn “‘Pink Friday’ into ‘Friday The 13th.’”

It’s unfortunate that rappers, who just happen to be females (re: femcees), can’t go without being malicious. Can’t be happy for one who’s doing well and succeeding. But we’ve seen these types of beef before, and of course, it just doesn’t happen among females.

But Kim had problems with Foxy Brown, Eve and Remy Ma, just to name a few. Shouldn’t we be used to this?

Nicki Minaj’s Disappointment

Nicki has been around for years, but many people have just been introduced to the self-proclaimed Barbie within the last year. Her high-energy is contagious. And her features leave you wanting more. Before she’d even dropped her debut album, Pink Friday, which sold 317K units in its first week (this week, thus far, she’s sold 375K), she was, like her label mate, rapper Drake, performing at awards shows and getting offers for major collaborations (does Kanye West’s Monster with Jay-Z and Rick Ross ring a bell?). It seemed like she was on top of the world, and her music game. But when Pink Friday was released, it was nothing like the hype of her mixtapes – the music (beats, hooks, lyrics) – it was lacking something – Nicki’s outlandish personality and passionate lyrics. Her label had obviously taken over and convinced her to go more pop instead of allowing her to stick to her roots.

ToureX: If Minaj is important bc she’s a female rapper, but not important as a rapper, then she’s not important.

With Nicki, there aren’t many prevalent female rappers in the game, so I wanted more. There was too much singing (not with features, but her). There were already tons of people who were criticizing her, doubting her success. She’ll know have to work even harder to prove herself in upcoming features, remixes and future albums. It would be different if Nicki entered the industry as a rap artist, but she proclaimed herself to be a rapper, and that’s the difference. She wasn’t a pop artist.

The New York Times’ review of Nicki’s Pink Friday and Kesha’s Cannibal, scarily said it all:

And as is clear from this album, maturity is overrated. Still, even at her dullest, Nicki Minaj is more technically gifted, more thoughtful and more radical than Kesha, which makes it somewhat maddening that, with “Cannibal,” Kesha threatens to become the most influential female rapper of the day, or at least the most popular.

Walking in the Shadow of a Giant

Spoken word artist Jasmine Mans performed a piece entitled “The Miss-Education of a Barbie” that has gone viral. And rightfully so. In the spoken word, which is obviously addressed to Nicki Minaj, she says:

You turned your g-spot into a land mine.

There is nothing pedal bike pretty about being broken.

Don’t let this industry rape the Assata out of you.

This microphone is not a dildo so you’re going to have to cum a little harder.

U-N-I-T-Y so you wouldn’t have to record on your back”

(Barbie) stop spittin’ me toy stories.

Although some Nicki fans were upset by the poem, Mans said the poem wasn’t meant as a diss, but as a challenge to Nicki and all women and the entertainment industry.

Mans further said: I do not want Nicki Minaj to be the next Lauryn Hill or MC Lyte, I want her to rap as if women like Assata Shakur and Toni Morrison exist.

The “Miss-Education of a Barbie” questions the message that Nicki Minaj is relaying to her listeners. If Nicki Minaj seeks to simply entertain audiences with shallow concepts then my poem can be written off as irrelevant to her and her fans alike. However, if she seeks to make a difference in musical history and in the lives of her fans around the world then my piece questions her methods of doing so.

Her “Barbie” image is an objectification of womanhood. How can we expect our male rappers to pay homage and respect to women when the voice that is representing us is tainted with sexual innuendos and “child’s play?”

Let’s disregard Nicki and Kim’s beef. To me, it’s not relevant. Kim isn’t rapping anymore and Nicki is trying to make a long-lasting impression unto the world of rap relevance. People are saying she doesn’t possess the lyrical power of Lauryn (Hill), or the ability to revive the lost souls. But what we’re failing to realize is that all we have is Nicki. No other female rapper comes close to being as popular what she is today. Sure, there are other (female) rappers around. So what’s the problem? They aren’t (female) rappers that are socially conscious like Lauryn to balance out “p**** sitting your sideburns.”

Demetria Lucas summarized it best:

The absence of a Lauryn Hill-like figure is really Nicki Minaj’s biggest problem (and her misguided attempt to compare herself to Hill over the summer.) And Minaj’s critics take her to task often because they’re upset as the ONLY woman with a name brand in rap, Minaj actually chooses playful, silly and sexy, over actual depth that they know is in there.

There’s only one Laruyn Hill, and Hill returning can’t even replace the void that she left over a decade ago. We can love Minaj or we can hate her, but it’s fruitless to think we can change her into something she’s not or someone we still miss in order to embrace her.

Nicki knows what she’s doing. She’s an actress. This rap game is just that – a game. The fans and critics are her puppets. Each time she changes her voice or personality, she’s getting into character. Just like rapping, acting is something she’s always wanted to do. Now she has the stage to finally make it happen. Regardless if you like her or not, you can’t deny her talent. It’ll be interesting to see how she continues to use it – will she change her image, keep her Barbie persona, venture into the pop arena, go back to her rap roots or dibble into acting?


Ask me what I think about Kanye West and I’ll tell you he’s passionate, creatively endowed and artfully skilled. I’m a huge fan of his musical talent and artistic ability.

His knacks of crafting tantalizing beats and humorous, yet relatable lyrics that will make you say, “Yo! Did you hear that shit?” are admirable.

When we were first introduced to Kanye West in 2004 on College Dropout, he was militant. His lyrics and features on other tracks fed my self-conscious hunger. Although he was Jay-Z’s protégé, he was like the Common/Mos Def/Talib Kweli for the younger generation. And I accepted that with open arms. He was humble – he let the infamous No and being confined to producing for bigger artists (does Jay-Z’s Izzo or Alicia Keys You Don’t Know My Name ring a bell?) push him even more until he was able to push through the thick cervical wall of the hip-hop industry until it birthed him as a musical artist.

In 2005, we were reacquainted on Late Registration. He perfected his lyrical proficiency with solid songs with drive-home messages. I don’t think I’m able to put it into words but the following songs: Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Roses, Crack Music, Addiction, Drive Slow, and We Major – all spoke to the struggling souls. Kanye was getting somewhere. He asked us, “Can I talk my shit again?” And we, in unison, said “Yes, Mr. West.”

But… somewhere between Late Registration and Graduation, his militant attitude and humbleness disappeared and ego took over. He became much more vocal in sharing his opinions, whether it was his anger in not winning an award or expressing his disapproval of Bush.  After the death of his mother, Dr. Donda West, in late 2007, a new person was born. He was depressed, angry and rude(r). Compare the music from these four albums. You’ll witness a sharp change. He was fighting something internally, especially heard on 808s and

Heartbreaks. He didn’t win that battle. The scores were hot and he was pouring out his soul – lyrically. There was no rapping but he didn’t need to rhyme because the words said enough. Look at the pictures taken during this time. If he smiled, it looked forced. The fights with paparazzi. Alcohol. The hyped relationship with Amber Rose. This is how he dealt with his mother’s death. He was falling, and hard.

The infamous Taylor Swift/“Imma let you finish” incident hit him with a dose of reality. He’d been criticized before, but this time, the entire world, including celebrities and President Obama, was shaking their fingers at him. Although he was exercising his First Amendment rights, it wasn’t the right time and he humiliated an innocent person. He later went on Jay Leno to explain his behavior. The interview was awkward and it was a side of Kanye we’d never seen before.

“Obviously, I deal with hurt, and so many celebrities, they never take the time off, and I never took the time off, really,” he said, responding to Leno’s question on how Kanye’s mother would’ve responded to his outburst. “I’m just ashamed my hurt caused someone else’s hurt.”

Kanye took months off, not resurfacing until May 2010. He performed at local venues, high schools, and Facebook and Twitter offices, gradually rebuilding his damaged brand and public image. In July, he joined Twitter to connect with fans – and to control the message to the masses himself rather than giving control to media. His promise to release G.O.O.D. Friday tracks every Friday until Christmas certainly helped his likability among music fanatics.

Kanye’s fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is available for purchase today. And as with anything Kanye does, it doesn’t disappoint. HipHopDX described the album perfectly:

“The emotion on this album is a kaleidoscope of self-righteousness, loneliness – and something that’s been missing from the last two albums: joy.”

I look forward to seeing Kanye’s continuous growth. He’s come so far from the person he used to be only a year ago. We’ve seen what the hip-hop arena had to offer without his presence, and honestly, I don’t want to experience that again.


A few days ago, Diddy, formerly known as Puffy Daddy, (also known as Sean Combs) posted subliminal tweets about a deal between Jay-Z and rapper Jay Electronica. The latter signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and allegedly, Diddy was hurt because he’d taken Jay Electronica under his wings and mentored him. Later, Diddy recanted his tweets and wished them nothing but success.

That got me thinking. How could Diddy be angry when artists he signs disappear in the music game like a bad game of hide and go seek? We could have a great 48 Hours Mystery or Forensic Files special on every artist associated with Bad Boy. Help me count…

Biggie, Shyne, Faith, Mase, Loon, G-Dep, Black Rob, 112, Yung Joc, Craig Mack, Keith Murray, Lil Kim, DREAM, Da Band, B5, Danity Kane, Day 26, Jerome Childers, The Lox, Fuzz Bubble, Mark Curry, Kain, Aasim, Mario Winans, Carl Thomas, Cheri Dennis, Cassie, Total.

Damn. 28 artists. Now don’t get me wrong: every artist won’t last until the end of time. But Diddy is reminiscent to a parasite – he sucks the life out of these artists and when he’s done eating, it’s on to the next venture, leaving the prey helpless and feeling used.

Andreas Hale over at The BVX summarized 20 of Bad Boy’s failures beautifully here. I’ve included his synopsis of R&B group Total below:

Total

Years Signed: 1995-2000

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: People often question the singing ability of artists like Rihanna and Cassie, but there’s been a long history of R&B divas with suspect talent. Back in ’95, Sean Combs introduced the trio Total and the next phase of the hip-hop/R&B movement he helped usher in with Mary J. Blige. There was Kima, the skinny, screechy one; Keisha, the sexy one with the short cut who could kinda sing; and then Pam, the tall one everyone thought was a lesbian.

Their debut single, ‘Can’t You See,’ featuring Notorious B.I.G. was a huge urban radio hit, and the Jersey girls released a platinum self-titled debut album and were subsequently christened “The Bad Girls of R&B.” Their follow-up album ‘Kima, Keisha and Pam,’ went gold, but then they dropped an underwhelming single, ‘Sittin’ Home.’ And, in true Bad Boy fashion, Diddy dropped them and forgot about any of their previous successes.

What are your thoughts on the history of Bad Boy? And did Jay Electronica make a smart move? Did Diddy have a right to be angry or hurt?

Here’s an added bonus: Check out this free downloadable podcast/mixshow by Dr. Mr King: “The Best of Bad Boy (Minus Biggie).” It makes you admit, Diddy made hot songs when the artists were of benefit to him.


Image courtesy of BET Blogs

Last weekend, rapper and actor Bow Wow (Shad Moss) posted a few depressing tweets on Twitter:

I swear I be wishing I was dead sometimes. Because I feel like that’s the only way I’ll get peace. People don’t know me man. Y’all don’t… start looking at Shad. Not Bow Wow. Fuck Bow. I go through shit daily. I’m just like y’all. I sacrificed my life for this hip hop shit. I put my “REAL” life on hold. If I could do it over… wudda went to school. Got me a reg job.

Many people think that because a person has money, their problems are solved, but that’s not always the case. Often times, when your money doubles, so does the trouble. Sure, you may not have the same financial struggles as you did when you were working your modest job, but with fame comes increased issues with trust and safety. Not everyone wants what’s best for you. Jealousy is an ugly disease and it has driven some people to want to hurt those who are more fortunate.

After reading a few responses to Bow Wow’s tweets, some people were angry that he felt this way. Why? Is he not entitled to have varying emotions just because he is wealthy? Twitter may not have been the best place for him to express these thoughts, especially when there are millions of people following you, but it was a cry for help. It was best that he shared his thoughts than not say anything at all and take his life in his own hands.

Thoughts?

Related: The Dark Side of Stardom: Soulja Boy’s Bout with Fame


 

Earlier this month, an anti-gang banner was displayed on the Miami Police Department’s website. Nothing wrong with trying to promote peace, no? Well, this time there was a huge problem. Two of the cartoon gang members look like Jay-Z and modeled after photos of the rap mogul.

 

The Department claims it was “something that was inadvertently done,” but the photos are too similar to be dismissed.

Although the banner was eventually pulled, what does this say about the department’s opinion of hip-hop, respect for Jay-Z or credibility in general?

Does his music (lyrics) justify the Department’s using his likeness?




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