Archive for April, 2010

Alabama Gubernatorial candidate shows his true colors

Posted in politics with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by klysha

I take pride in my Alabama roots.  I really do.  Even if I tried to pretend I wasn’t born in the deep south this thick southern accent that I can’t seem to shake would blow my cover every time.  On multiple occasions when I’ve told people who had never been to Alabama where I’m from their  response was a wide eyed “Wow! Is it really, you  know, all racist and stuff?”   Usually they’re actually disappointed that I don’t have an arsenal of war stories about overcoming oppression and bigotry at the Woolworths soda counter.

It’s rich racist legacy has afforded Alabama a spot on many a northern born black person’s “Will never visit list”,  but for the most part I’ve felt like Alabama has gotten a bad wrap.  Then just when I get pretty good at defending the honor of my home state somebody like this comes along and ruins everything.

Now I’m not arguing against expecting imigrants to learn the English language. In most countries you’re expected to learn the local language to live and function. My issue is with this guy making the language the driver’s license test is issued in a campaign issue. Really???? Because this is an issue that really effects a lot of Alabamians right????  In a state where there are counties with illiteracy rates as high as 34%  (That means in some rural counties in Alabama 1 in 3 people can’t read on a basic level) are we really gonna make requiring people to speak the English language a campaign issue???  Why not make  working to increase literacy for some of the poorest Alabamians a campaign issue….you know something that might actually BENEFIT some people.  Instead this son of a biscuit eater is making a blatant appeal to the bigots in Alabama who will eat up an oh so “Pro-American” sounding message like this.

“This is Alabama. We speak English.”

Really? Because the people of England would listen to anybody from Baldwin county speak for 30 seconds and beg to differ with this statement.

The thing that pisses me off the most about this ad is he’s trying to dress his blatant bigotry in a cloak of perceived logic.  That’s where things get get dangerous.  Unfortunately that’s a tactic that is frequently used by Republicans.

For me the bigotry is pretty blatant in this ad, but some people who share the “Pro-American*” views  Tim James is trying to portray here could easily get duped into thinking this is really about saving money. How much money is really spent on offering the driving test in other languages Tim?

However since I for one like my bigotry straight up with no chaser I suppose I should thank Tim James for pretty much doing the next best thing behind wearing a fitted tee shirt with I’m a bigoted jerk emblazoned across the chest. Too bad I’m not an Alabama voter so I can’t vote against him.

*I’m not necessarily saying that “Pro-American” is synonymous with bigoted but I’m not saying it’s not either

Why did I give Tyler Perry another $10… err Get Married Too

Posted in Movies with tags , on April 5, 2010 by klysha

Several days before opening night I read a scathing review of Why Did I Get Married Too that set my expectations even lower than they generally are for a TP flick, so low that I had pretty much decided that I probably wasn’t going to bother to see it. But on Friday I was out with some of the girls from work on a spring arrival celebratory happy hour outing and someone got the brilliant idea to cap off the night with a viewing of Tyler Perry’s latest. My initial reaction was to reject the suggestion based on the scathing review I had just read, but a tiny part of me wanted to believe that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as they said.  Plus I like to see things with my own eyes before passing  judgment.  Besides there had to be some entertainment value in this movie …there just had to…and there was actually…but not all of it was in the ways I think Tyler Perry intended.

I’ll try to describe how I felt about Why Did I Get Married Too did without dropping too many spoilers lest I ruin a bunch of black folks Easter weekend.

Let’s start with the good.

There are some great messages about communication in marriage, and thanks to Perry’s subtle as a foghorn delivery you can’t miss them.

A lot of black actors and actresses got a paycheck.

Sharon Leal’s dress in the opening scene made me believe in style again.

Lemman Rucker’s fine self.

Despite closely resembling two balloons stapled to his chest Michael Jai White’s pectorals provided a welcome and much needed distraction from how contrived the dialoge was between the men in that post jet ski  ride scene early in the movie.

Unlike most of Tyler Perry’s movies this movie wasn’t laced with churchy excessively moralistic themes.

This movie brought out the biggest crowd of black people I’ve ever seen at one time in Friendship Heights.  Since I live in Montgomery County MD, I welcome anything that brings me into the presence of a lot of black people.

Now for everything else.

Maybe I just don’t have a strong enough suspension of disbelief switch to sit through a Tyler Perry movie and ignore all the things that just don’t make any sense to me.

Things that didn’t make sense to me in this movie include:

Jill Scott’s character’s ex from Why Did I Get Married showing up at the time share.

The way Tasha Smith’s character only knew one speaking volume.

How Jill Scott’s character could make the exact same mistake Bird made in Soul Food. Don’t movie characters watch movies too?

Ciciley Tyson’s wig.  That wig was just disrespectful to our elders.

Janet Jackson’s and Malik Yoba’s characters relationship and all the melodrama that ensued. Perhaps some character development would have helped me out here.

Scene's that made me say why????

Tyler Perry playing a man. Even though I honestly don’t think Tyler Perry is gay,  he’s incredibly unbelievable to me as a straight man. I don’t understand why that’s the way it is but it just is.

Aside from a lot of things just not making sense to me and Tyler Perry’s complete inability to make use of nuance to deliver a message it seemed like TP just got a little lazy when he wrote this one.  But then again if I think back to every other movie he ever made  I suppose they all seem a little lazy so maybe my less than stellar impression of this movie is mostly my fault.  Silly me for going in there hoping to see some growth.  According to the reactions I saw on Twitter from most of his fan base and the extra dialogue provided by the audience in the packed theater I was in, this was an amazing flick.  So any negative impressions on my part are very likely a sign that either my expectations for this movie were in complete misalignment with the fact that this was indeed a TP flick or they could mean I’m just not in TP’s target demographic.  Either way I couldn’t help walking out of the movie theater feeling like I had just witnessed one of the worst movies I had seen in a very long time. But I also haven’t seen a Tyler Perry movie in a long time so…yeah.

But then there was Lamman Rucker so I guess it wasn’t the worst movie I had ever seen.

Erykah Badu gets naked in her Window Seat

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 1, 2010 by klysha

The web was abuzz all week about my favorite artist’s new Window Seat video in all its butt nekid glory. Reactions ranged from critiques of her choice to use nudity to prove a point,  to marveling over the deepness of her social commentary juxtaposed against the ampleness of her behind.

The legality of shedding your clothes in the streets of Texas aside, I for one don’t understand why someone shedding their clothes publicly is such a big deal. Every one of us does this pretty much every day in our bathrooms (hopefully), and in some countries bathing is done publicly. We’re all born naked for crying out loud. But in a country where the fallout from Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate continues to plague Superbowl half time shows six years later, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Americans are such prudes.

Ms. Badu’s public striptease looked so liberating that I might actually be a little jealous of her because she managed to get away with public nudity and managed to find a way to get naked in a video without coming across like a ho.  I’d strip naked  and run through the streets right now if it weren’t for a) my fear of mortifying my ultra prudish mom, b) my fear of going to jail and losing my good job c) my fear of the crazy dude who might misinterpret my nakedness as an invitation to snatch me up and take me to a dank basement to perform unmentionable acts on my vulnerable naked self.

While the video did feature a thought provoking social commentary on group think, the controversial striptease was clearly a ploy to sell records and I’m not mad at her at all for doing it. That’s her livelihood and as long as she’s making dope music while pulling off stunts like that I will forever be a fan.

I hope Erykah accomplishes her primary goal of selling as many CDs as possible but I’d also like to applaud her for accomplishing the following things:

1) introducing at least a few black folks to the term group think…anything that contributes to the expansion of the vocabularies of my people is a win in my book.

2) providing a diversion in my Twitter time line from the tweets about the antics of Kat Stacks

3) getting us skinny girls a few extra looks by displaying what a skinny chicks body might look like after three babies*

*Okay I’m really hoping her video accomplishes this