Becky vs. Precious, Lee Daniels’ Made Us Do It!

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Last week (11/04/2015) on Empire, Gabourey Sidibe was the last of the hit TV show’s main cast members to have a “love” scene. Viewers went wild with fat shaming memes and terrible comments. While fat shaming is a terrible monster that rears it’s ugly head against any and everyone (especially women in Hollywood), I am not so sure that fat shaming is the totality of what’s happening here.

First Lee Daniels served us Gabourey as Precious

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Her image was an overweight, fried chicken eating, illiterate girl who was hated by her mother because her father raped her which resulted in pregnancy. Precious’ relationship with sex was prominent in the movie. It was revealed during an award winning emotional breakdown by Mo’Nique (playing the role of Precious’ mother) that not only did her father rape her but that he would reach over and play with her private parts while having sex with the mother. This image is visceral to say the least. Lee Daniels’ could be wrong to assume that America can get over such a traumatic image so easily.

On Wednesday, Lee Daniels’ served us Becky

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Since the topic most present here is fat shaming I will describe Lee Daniels’ choice to give Becky a love scene this way with that context. Daniels’ served us a “fat women need love too. Watch her throw her leg up. You didn’t think she could do that” scene. I am not so sure that it was a love scene at all. I am all for women of any size doing anything they want. What’s annoying is that Lee Daniels’ continues to serve us Gabourey’s weight as a prop then when social media erupts with comments and memes Gabourey is the one that suffers.

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06 O Teatro Da Vida Filme Movie Film Preciosa Uma História De Esperança Precious Lee Daniels 2009 Gabourey Sidibe Barret Helms

 

 

 

 

The fat shaming started with Lee Daniels’. It is challenging for an actor to play a role as jarring as Precious then transition into other characters where she is much more than a fat black girl who is good enough to have sex with but not good enough to love. It is quite possible that seeing Gabourey in the love scene on Empire triggered trauma for the viewer where the response was to bash it, get rid of it, or laugh at it. I cannot assume that everyone who saw Precious also saw the episode of Empire. The images of Precious and the storyline of the movie are public enough and well known enough (especially after the Oscars) for a large group of Empire viewers to have been susceptible to it’s striking images of Gabourey as a charity case.

I challenge Lee Daniels’ to consider being more careful. Give Becky a build up. Let her be kinky. Let her kiss. Let her engage in flirty behavior then transition us into her having sex. I feel like there’s a way he can acknowledge the trauma he caused with Precious while not letting it hold Becky back from getting the love/sex she wants. Gabourey as an actor deserves a little more tenderness. Not because she is anything other than brilliant and beautiful, but because the role of Precious is attached to her like Gollum! il_570xN.334901183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ps. Thank you for reading! None of these images are mine but are googlable. Follow the blog! Till we blog again…

Twitterview: Q-Tip on Iggy Azalea under the banner of Hip-Hop #GetSchooled

On this edition of Twitterview, Q-Tip…

Hi Q-Tip! It’s an honor. First let me start by expressing that the D’Angelo CD is fire!!!!

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/544237717467705344

Yes! Yes! Now on to the matter at hand. Let me start by asking, what is Hip-Hop?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546372626252570624

Can you break it down a little further for the Iggy Azalea’s (and the like) out there?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546372847858630657

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546373235101937664

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What is your response to Iggy Azalia speaking on people making “it” racial when discussing her, privilege, and Hip-Hop?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546380566757916672

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546380814280568832

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What questions do you have for Iggy?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546384022428209152

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546384726341455872

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546385389389619201

Do you think Iggy feels attacked? If so, what would you say to her about that?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546385785982042113

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546386048071499777

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546386322072817665

https://twitter.com/QtipTheAbstract/status/546386589023481857

Welp! Thank you for your public twitter profile being available for Twitterviewing.

*Please note: These tweets are embedded here directly from Q-Tip’s timeline therefore if any tweets are missing it is because he has deleted them.*

Twitterview: Iggy Azalea on Azealia Banks, Privilege, and Being a Hip-Hop Artist

On this edition of Twitterview is Iggy Azalea…

Hi Iggy Azalea, how are you today?

Awesome!

So Iggy what is your response to Azaelia Banks and all of the things she’s been saying about you:

What is your relationship with Hip-Hop? Are you a Hip-Hop artist?

Oh wow! So you’re getting Hip-Hop awards, performing with Hip-Hop artists, and making a name for yourself with Hip-Hop but you’re not just a Hip-Hop artist?

Well, It’s clear that you couldn’t care less about Azealia Banks’ rants. It’s also clear that you don’t have to care about preserving Hip-Hop culture as long as you can straddle the pop/hip-hop fence and make money. Privilege allows you the space to meddle in any form of music you like and still win awards for being Hip-Hop all while saying you’re not a Hip-Hop artist. Awesome! So what do you really care about Iggy?

What’s next for you?

Taking your Hip-Hop, oh I mean pop act, on tour?! NICE!!

Welp! Thank you for Twitterviewing with me!

This concludes our Twitterview with Iggy Azalea. Thanks for tweeting Iggy!

*Please note: These tweets are embedded here directly from Iggy Azalea’s timeline therefore if any tweets are missing it is because she has deleted them.*

Headphones On: J. Cole tops charts, here’s why…

J. Cole was that high school kid that kept saying “Ms. Bell, imma be a rapper one day.” I would respond by nodding and saying “OK well let’s just work on getting your project done for now.” Then I’d think “J is a great kid. He just needs to apply himself. ” Forest Hills Drive is J. Cole giving his personal stories by applying himself lyrically in a manner we have yet to see from him. The result is the number one album in the country and the best selling Hip-Hop album of the year. Forest Hills Drive has a coming of age theme with topics ranging from Cole’s first sexual encounter to the numbness of growing up without a father. He channels his inner Mos Def with raspy slow singing over a melancholy beat in “Apparently.”

Cole is great at giving the listener a story they can identify with. Being accessible is the key to remaining relevant at a time where it’s easy for the average music listener to get lost in the quantity vs. quality of Hip-Hop. Lately, listeners who haven’t given up on Hip-Hop have been flooded with subpar lyrical content and catch phrases over hype beats.  J. Cole balances the status quo by offering you a selection of anthems to compliment your perception of day-to-day life.

Cool facts about the album…

  • The album is titled after his address in North Carolina.
  • There aren’t any featured artists on this album.
  • The album was released without any supporting singles.
  • I did not see ONE commercial promoting this album. His promo team took a different approach.

Find the album, buy it, listen to it, or all of the above. It’s worth it.

 

Inner Monologue: Smif-N-Wessun & M.O.P. at the Howard Theatre

WRITTEN BY SHELLY BELL
ORIGINALLY PRESSED BY: Brightest Young Things (BYT)
February 26, 2013

I was 12 years old when M.O.P. short for “Mash Out Posse” came to fame debuting their first single “Do you want some Hardcore.” (1993). I was 15 when Smiff-N-Wessun released “Dah Shinin” (1995). Now 20 years after M.O.P.’s debut and I was excited to see them rock out on stage for the first time in my life at the Howard Theatre. During a Hip-Hop show many things run through your mind. The show usually starts late and the opening random rapper is someone you could careless about. However, this time it was the legendary M.O.P. being opened up for by Smif-N-Wessun maybe things will run a little bit different.

Inner Monologue:
I put on flat shoes so that I can jump with the crowd. M.O.P. is sure to perform their high energy classic “Ante Up” and I want to be prepared. The show starts at 8pm. I’m here on time with my drink in place! Wait, why aren’t there any women here? Well, there’s one, two, me, OK, about 5 women in the building! It’s 8:30 is the show ever going to start? I wonder if they will have one of these local terrible rappers open the show. I hope not. It’s 9pm! Is the show going to start? All the dudes in here look like they went shopping together. I guess this is what “real Hip-Hop” fans look like. Hip-Hop heads most definitely consider M.O.P and Smif-N-Wessun “real Hip-Hop.” I do too! I guess. Wait! Is it 9:30? WTF? When is the show going to start?! Ah ok. Here we go. The old school hype men are on stage asking everyone to come to the front of the Howard Theatre. I wonder why these fans are huddled in the back of the venue anyway. Maybe they wanted chairs to sit in. The Howard Theatre knows that a M.O.P. show will be something like a Hip-Hop rock concert so not having chairs works best. What is this 40 year old guy in a hoodie, jeans, and timbs saying on stage now? Oh, get hype for Smif-N-Wessen. It’s 10:15! FINALLY the show starts at 10:30!

Yay! Smiff-N-Wessn!! I remember when I used to be in love with Steele. They are going perform joints from their debut album “Dah Shinin.” Wait why are there so many people on stage? 1, 2, 3, 10, 15, there are like 20 people on stage. Last I remember and researched there are only two members of Smif-N-Wessun. Just try to enjoy the show Shelly. “BUCKTOWN! HOME OF THE ORIGINAL GUN CLAPPERZ” I used to rock to this joint back in the day! “I SHINE YOU SHINE SHINE, I SHINE YOU SHINE SHINE.” Nostalgia feels the room as everyone sings along to the joints from our teenage years. Wait, are they rolling blunts on stage? Oh my God they are smoking weed on stage. I think I will stay in the back of the venue. Is that a Hennessy bottle on stage? Are they pouring everyone Hennessy? Wow, so they got 20 people on stage passing blunts and Hennessy amongst each other why the two people we came to see actually perform. Steele just turned his back on the crowd to smoke and drink. OK. I’m ready to see M.O.P. I am not a fan of what’s happening right now.

It’s about 11:30. FINALLY M.O.P.! Less people on stage. No weed smoke. No Hennessy drinking. Ok. I respect that they are all about the show. “You’re as cold as ice” drops. NOW THE PARTY HAS STARTED! Their focus is on the crowd the entire time. Billy Danze’s voice sounds just as raspy and hardcore as it does on the album! AWESOME! M.O.P. is a perfectly balanced professional duo. Billy Danze’s level of hype cannot be matched by any rapper in history. Lil Fame has a calm matter-of-fact type flow that works well on any track no matter how fast or slow. Every time Billy Danze screams “OH!” I just gotta scream “OH!” back. “Who remembers the first M.O.P. joint?” the duo asked. I have no clue. Just keep performing! “How about some Hardcore? yeah we like it raw!” Did more people come in? The entire floor is packed. FINALLY! The song I have been waiting for “ANNNNTTEE UP….” We are going wild in this joint! Jumping! Yelling! Screaming along to the song! YESS!! What a way to end the night! Smif-N-Wessun disappointed me, but M.O.P. rocked so hard I forgot that the first half of the show even happened!

On Nicki Minaj, hissy fits, perfectly poor planning and perfectly poor execution.

 

Shelly Bell, writer
http://www.brooklynbodega.com

Every time Mattel creates a new Barbie identity they promote it heavily, animate her in commercials and make her as life like as possible. When the music industry re-creates Lil Kim they call her a Nicki Minaj, promote her heavily, animate her commercially and make her as life like as humanly possible. Barbies become outdated quickly. Nobody actually wants to keep one Barbie identity for life. Which part of Barbie play time is Nicki Minaj acting out now? She went from Hip-Hop Nicki Barb to Pop Barb on acid now what? In a recent, tantrum-filled interview with NYC radio station Power 105.1 morning show The Breakfast Club she was shocked at the hosts’ lack of awareness of her latest re-re-release, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, The Re-Up. However, her angst may have revealed much more about her current situation. In a sad case of truly being the empress in new clothes, Minaj’s mix of music and marketing may be leaving her woefully exposed as an underdeveloped musical entity. Times are hard in the industry these days. Tupac’s “dollar out of 15 cents is real, and labels are scrambling to monetize artists. But, the question of “at what cost” may best be asked when contemplating the present condition of Nicki Minaj.

Minaj believes that the album was set up to fail because major stores did not want to carry it.According to Minaj, Target nor Walmart carried the album and Best Buy carried a limited  amount. According to the stores the last few re-releases do not sell well and they didn’t want to take the chance. Nicki passionately spoke about this as if it was unrealistic for them to think this way. Target and Walmart have been selling albums longer than Nicki Minaj as been posing as a Barbie doll; they may actually have some insight on the risks that are worth taking. It may be a stretch to say that the album was set up to fail. It was convenient to re-release the album in terms of an attempt to keep Hip-Hop Barbie relevant, but not a good move in terms of album sales.

On top of being busy as “Public Smiley Face” Barbie with a three-part series on E, judging this season’s American Idol competition, still constantly touring, developing her own perfume and clothing line, Nicki told The Breakfast Club that she signed two artists. Will this possible overexposure fast forward her potential burn out? She answers her naysayers in recent single “Up in Flames”: “They be like what you doing Nicki? Branding…..I’m branding….” “got the clothing line popping, wigs are next” Comparatively to Minaj, rising  female rappers like Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, and Angel Haze have yet to reach their prime and are solely focused on music. Whatever happened to music, and more specifically, rapping as the centerpiece of Minaj’s “Barbie” branding?

Of course,The Breakfast Club could not let the entire interview go on without asking about her controversy with Mariah Carey! DJ Envy asks if she made the alleged statements about pulling out a gun. With a crazed stare and calm voice she sarcastically answered “I’m not a violent person Envy, I don’t believe in violence, I don’t promote violence, I’m selling perfume, I’m about to sell clothes….” Charlamagne laughs  “that’s a ‘the white man has a plan for you answer.’” She laughs back and hi-fives him. This reveals a not-so-shocking yet entirely sad “Jigaboo Barbie” for the media to play with. This moment is a clear portrait of an artist in a strange stage of development. Your homegirl from Queens, NY is now a “more-than-rapper,” morphing into a marketing machine selling perfume and clothes.

Amazingly enough, Nicki Minaj may still be underdeveloped as an artist. The timing and execution of her initial music and marketing plan that produced her career success clearly has stunted her potential as a musical artist. She is signing artists and starting clothing lines and doesn’t even have three successful albums. Relevancy is the key to selling product lines. Consistently solid and mainstream marketable production is the key to an artist staying relevant. According to it’s poor retail placement, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up is not a marketable production. It is important that Nicki prioritize in order to stay afloat. There’s no need to cherish Barbies they are generic and can be made over and over. Nicki Minaj may be rapping about being a queen now, but while she sits on a throne there’s other female rappers in training for her seat. The fate of Hip-Hop Barbie rests in the question did Nicki Minaj really want to be a rapper or has she unsuccessfully become something else?

On Nicki Minaj, Sexuality and Politrics…

Shelly Bell, writer
http://www.brooklynbodega.com

Nicki Minaj is a jack-of-all-trades, yet a mistress of none. To push along the playing card analogy even further, she must have been a card shark in her former life because she is good at knowing when to throw down the joker at the most opportune moment. Arguably her most impressive play occurred most recently in her verse on Lil Wayne’s remix of G.O.O.D Music posse track “Mercy” from his new “Dedication 4″ mixtape wherein she mentions herself as a Mitt Romney supporter because “lazy b***hes are f***ing up the economy.”  Upon hearing this statement, the blogosphere and news reports went wild like a rumble at a card game in a NYC basement. However wild that moment was, her most salacious and unbeatable cards that she’s continuously played, allowing her to run the rap/pop crossover table?  The “bisexual card.” In personally identifying as a bisexual female, Nicki Minaj takes my cultural standard to an impressive new extreme. In curiously identifying as lesbian when it’s sexy for hip-hop culture, while toeing the line and appearing very much heterosexual for her pop audience, she’s setting an incredible, yet possibly dangerous new standard.

It is challenging enough to be the “B” in “LGBT” due to the fact that you’re urged to choose a side by homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. Is Nicki’s canny play the work of a smart chick or a dumb bird? Theories on the nature of the hetero/homo/bi-sexuality of female artists including but not limited to Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Missy Elliott have divided fans into between believers and non-believers leaving the artists to sheepishly grin and continue living their lives as they see fit. However, unlike the difficulties of artists of the past, what is it about Minaj’s bi-sexual play that’s so entertaining and successful?

The video clip for 2012 single “Starships” showcases the softer, singing and ostensibly heterosexual pop vocalist Nicki as an electronic dance girl in a bikini surrounded by buff male Barbie dolls. 2012′s “Beez in the Trap”? Hardcore rapper Nicki’s here as the “drop a bitch off if she act up” dominant female. Clearly, bisexuality has become a platform for her lyrics to stretch beyond the imagination of different markets. However, actually living life away from the lights of pop stardom lies in direct opposition to her success.

Nicki’s line in “Mercy” has absolutely nothing to do with her political stance or sexual preference. In embracing bisexuality, Minaj is brilliantly using stereotypical male dominant American societal norms as a way to attain financial success. Regardless of educational background, career choice, or ethnicity most heterosexual men deem lesbian activity as sensual, sexy, and fantastic. In the case of “Mercy,” men who are functioning members of society also care about politics therefore, by using these dominant societal forces, Minaj plays the cards that reel in the most attention.

Nicki Minaj is safe in her peculiar quest for stardom as hip-hop culture is clearly in favor of lesbian activity and clearly against gay male activity. If you’re wanting to belabor this point, there’s over forty years of history in video and rhyme that prove this true. Is Nicki Minaj pimping bisexuality, politics, and yes, even the system itself to gain attention and notoriety? Is this a smart move or a stupid one? Does the world care enough to indulge in her relevancy as an artists as a method deciding who to vote for? Does the LGBT community care enough about bisexuality that she is viewed as a representative for our community? If so, do we as a community deem her relevant enough to speak out for or against? The answer to all of these questions? Yes.

Nicki Minaj is not bisexual, a republican, nor a democrat. She is a chameleon for whatever the media deems popular to be at any given moment. This method of movement works for her, but does Minaj playing her cards right only allow her to become the queen by playing a royal flush, or does it set a new standard? The future of bisexual voices in not just hip-hop, but popular culture overall is an intriguing notion that deserves attention.

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