An Evening with John Legend and Robin Thicke

This Thursday evening I will have the opportunity to finally hear and see John Legend perform live. The Once Again Tour sponsored by Bailey's is coming to the Tabernacle here in Atlanta and of course I scooped up a couple tickets as soon as I heard the tour was coming to town.

John Legend's brand of sexy, sophisticated music was a needed surprise that seem to come out of nowhere in 2005. His style of music is so different and so fresh from most of what's out in contemporary R&B right now, it remained to be seen if he could duplicate the success of his Get Lifted album. And unlike some new artist, who come out with a second album and try and flip the script... John gave us a new album that was even more sophisticated, more grown and even more sexy. Now I am by no means saying this new album is just a duplication of his last. This album has no guest appearances and is more ballad driven than the first.

I am so looking forward to hearing the mix of soul, blues, and gospel influences that have shaped Once Again into yet another masterpiece.

As an added bonus Robin Thicke is opening for John. While I have only heard a couple tracks of his Evolution of Robin Thicke... the ones I have heard like Can U Believe and Wanna Love You Girl, I know the boy can sing. So I will definitely be looking forward to his set as well.

It should definitely be a memorable evening.

Will Michael Richards wake up Black America?

It's been a couple of weeks since Michael Richards went crazy at the Laugh Factory and revived his stale career, albeit this time he will have 15 minutes of infamy, and not much else has occurred. He has apologized on Letterman and the Jesse Jackson show and reiterated time and time again… that he may think of black people as niggers but he isn’t racists. The guys Richards belittled in the club have come forward, demanding an apology and in true American fashion, money as well. Can someone tell me how do you monetize racial epithets anyway?

Since that time everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to my coworker has chastised Richard’s behavior but I want to know when will we, as Black America, also wake up and realize the damage this word is doing to us. For years I have always said I could careless about the use of the word be any racial group. I always believed I didn’t use the word and black person using it as a term of endearment is about as bad as a white person using in it in disdain.

In the United States, the word was commonly used by some whites and blacks, until the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s when the word acquired a pejorative connotation. Today, the implied racism of the term is so strong that the use of nigger in most situations is a social taboo. Even the media here in America will not even print the word in full, instead using n*gg*r, n**ger, n——, or simply "the N-word." But for some odd reason our hip hop generation has adopted this word, changed the spelling and use it as a self-deprecating term that is suggestive of familiarity and endearment. I have heard people explain it as turning a negative into a positive. But when mainstream America sees us using this word… what do you really think they see?

What makes this even sadder is this ridiculous assertion being spouted by some brothers who will point out that there's a big difference between the word 'Nigger' and 'Nigga'. It baffles me to think you have some people who take this word and flip it so that it empowers them, or at least so they think. So that now nigga is a good thing... However when some white or Asian kid comes rolling up to me talking about 'What's up my Nigga'?, should I embrace him because this kid is down with hip hop culture or kick his ass because he has disrespected me?

We as Black people must understand that when the word nigga is used in public or in lyrics, other ethnic groups also hear them. And yes, these other ethnic groups may understand in which context blacks mean and use the word nigga and may recognize this as a term of affection and friendship. But at the same time it still reminds people of the word nigger. The two words nigga and nigger will never ever be separated. If blacks use the word nigga as a greeting, then certain people from other ethnic groups will want to use the word in the same light. And why does skin color have to depict the true intentions of the use of the word?

Shouldn’t we follow the lead of other ethnic groups who vehemently step to folks who use such hateful epithets? For example, the Jewish community or even the gay and lesbian community. There's an old saying that goes 'What you say or allow to be said about you is what you will become'.

Surviving Black Friday

Over the years I have been to quite a few Black Friday sales... but this year was a totally new experience. Since my Dell Inspiron died earlier this year, I have been anticipating the notorious sales of this day to replace it. Well it didn't quite die, just the screen went out and I have had it looked at twice and each time I was told it would cost approximately $400 to repair. Of course this manufacturer defect didn't happen till after my warranty was over (BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN BUYING DELLS... I know of 3 other screens that went out). So after researching the Black Friday sales courtesy of the number of websites dedicated to posting all the ads before they are released, I decided that Best Buy would be the start of my Friday morning.

Best Buy had advertised an HP for $374 and a Sony for $599. And it was my goal to secure one of those laptops. The Best Buy ad also stated that the doors would open at 5am however they would start passing out tickets for the advertised specials at 4am. So I was thinking ok getting there around 2.. 230am would be fine. Well of course I was wrong. I arrived at Best Buy in Hoover, AL (I was in Birmingham with my mom for the holiday) at 230am only to see the line stretch past 3 additional stores. After debating whether to go home or stay for about 5 minutes and seeing the line still growing I decided to stay. Who would have ever thought so many people in Alabama would be going after these damn laptops.

I will say that the Best Buy handled the sale very well. Only letting in the first 100 people, then 10 people at a time till they reached their 375 capacity limit diffused the trampling often seen on the local news. Another line to get into the computer section prevented the workers from being overwhelmed while at the same time giving every customer personal attention.

Needless to say I didn't get either of the advertised laptops. While in the checkout line I had the opportunity to talk to #4 and #5 of the original line who told me they had been outside since 1pm Thanksgiving afternoon. (not that serious for me). However they scored 6 laptops between them.

After checking out I went buy Circuit City which was a mad house and I quickly retreated back to my truck and hit it to WalMart to score a TV for my mother. I was quite surprised at how empty WalMart was. I have heard the stories but I think since WalMart decided to only advertise online this year it really hurt their usual crowds. I talked to 4 other friends that all hit Best Buy early in the morning... only one got the advertised $599 Sony laptop but my purchase was a better computer for a $100 more.
All said I was back home and back in bed around 830am. With my $5.99 Janet CD, my $699 Laptop and a new tv for moms. Would I do the early morning again.... na not worth it.

Growing up in Relationships

I truly believe my upbringing has not only shaped and formed the person I am today but also the type of people I choose to date. My maternal and paternal families couldn’t be more different. My mother’s family were working class, devout Christians, that seemed to never judge people by their material possessions but more so by their merit and actions. They were truly down home, good people that would give their last for someone in need. Now my father’s family at first glance could be polar opposites. They were Caribbean immigrants that epitomized the E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie. If you brought a date to a family function, you could rest assure their pedigree, career/school, and complexion would be under scrutiny. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade after spending time with them in New Orleans did I realize that my skin was much fairer than my other cousins and mother. I often overheard ‘Thank God he was blessed with the good genes... instead of them others.’ But back to my point I definitely think that this has shaped who I have chosen to date.

So back in September, I met a guy from Texas out and about here in Atlanta. So on the basis of a Texan bond and the need for people to hang out with here we formed a friendship. It didn't take long to realize being from Texas was one of the very few things we had in common… but I guess what they say opposites attract. His hood and quick to fight temper is quite hilarious and disturbing at the same time. I always have to ask him… what does that solve? The stories and experiences of his childhood often baffle me. So over the past 2 months our friendship has been just that friendship… until this weekend when he asked me if I would ever date someone like him.

We always make those broad, generic statements…of who we would and wouldn’t date. And while I slipped up once or twice in the past, I quickly got rid of those mistakes (yes they were mistakes but thank God for the life lessons). For some reason I have always been attracted to tall, light, educated, with careers and goals. Retail workers (unless you were store manager or higher), strippers, ghetto, porn stars, uneducated, and the have-nots (A couple of those would apply to my new friend)… would have never stood a chance at a long term commitment.

So how did I answer that question… I simply said I am not sure but I wouldn’t rule it out. Who knows maybe I am maturing and recognizing the faults from my classism, bourgeoisie upbring? But for now the friendship is working so I think I will leave it at that for awhile.

My Favorite Things... again

Well Oprah took the high road this year and probably had the most noble of all of her Favorite Thing Giveaways.

Over the years, Oprah has given away cars, homes and much more, but nothing compares to today's giveaway! "I can honestly say that every gift I've ever given has brought at least as much happiness to me as it has to the person I've given it to," Oprah says. "That's the feeling I want to pass on to you." Every member of Oprah's audience is going home with $1,000 and a Sony DVD Handycam…but there's a catch.

Oprah is challenging more than 300 audience members to donate their money to a charitable cause."You're going to open your hearts, you're going to be really creative, and you're going to spend it all at once on one stranger or spend a dollar on every person," she says. "Imagine the
love and kindness you can spread with $1,000." --- taken from

After working in the nonprofit world for over 6 years and I must say that my prayers to God often include the wish to be in the financial position to help others. I, like Oprah, believe that feeling of happiness is unmatched. However at this point and time I am in no way in that position right now. I will say it was hard to top most of the 14 items that made my list in 2005, so just consider this year's list a continuation with just a few changes:

1. The inconsistency of the iTrip made me seek out another saviour from radio... luckily the helpful and quite attractive salesgirl at the Dunwoody BestBuy helped me find the Belkin TuneFM for Ipod<>A>.

2. My new favorite cologne came from my best friend and when I tell you it not only smells great but it makes you feel good too...
Bond No. 9 The Hamptons. After taking the last little corner he had left in his... I quickly made my way to Saks for my own.

3. We already know that I am not big on Christmas gifts, but on the rare occassion that I do give gifts I usually give something that could be considered a new family tradition started by my Grandmother when I was quite young. The Neiman Marcus Holiday Cakes, specifically the
Liqueur Cakes. Now you can buy a single cake or what I tend to give the mini cake sampler of six individually-wrapped cakes which include Irish whiskey, apple pecan bourbon, chocolate champagne, lemon with vodka, vanilla rum, and amaretto cakes.

4. The JOQ Men's Spa in Midtown Atlanta. Early this summer I treated myself to the JOQ Bronze Spa Package that included a 50 minute massage, a facial and a manicure and pedicure. They successfully pull of a relaxing day spa for men without the 'girly' affects.

5. Grey's Anatomy is one of, if not the one, favorite show I must catch every week. It is great to see a show written and created by a black woman, with 4 main minority characters that isn't a bunch of joking and jiving or set in a ghetto with Shaniqua and her 4 kids.

6. After having a hamburger from 5 Guys... McDonalds and Burger King begins to taste like welfare food. They have the absolute best burgers I have had in quite some time. Currently only on the east coast (like most of the good stuff)... they definitely make my favorites list this year.

7. One of my favorite stores has finally made it to DC... Barney's Coop. Whenever I need a 'fit' for a function that is the place to go, without worrying about half the party having on the same shit.

8. Yellowman is definitely making some hot shirts that go perfect with jeans. They are called tattoo shirts because they basically look like very intricate tattoo designs.

9. Thanksgiving Day... by far my favorite holiday. Great food, family... and a day set aside to just to say thanks.

Random Thoughts about the BET Hip Hop Awards

So happy BET Hip Hop Awards weekend went off without one shooting, stabbing, or good ole fashioned pimp slapping. Atlanta Police spokesman James Polite said there have been no reports of crime or violence associated with the BET event.

I guess everyone gave their stylist the night off because almost everyone looked a hot mess. I mean what was Monica thinking… liker her album, she looked a hot shitty mess.

I have no clue to why Flava Flave and Deelishous (or however he ebonically spelt her name) are news and even better yet why people are so fascinated with that train wreck of a show.

Why are all the local radio shows reporting that there was hardly any applause during the entire show??? Was it that bad.

I wonder are people dreading that MARTA ever brought “that crowd” to the Buckhead area after it taking an hour to get to the too crowded Lenox Mall parking lot turned car show.

Why did this young fag (sorry but that is the only word that can accurately describe him) tell me he had ordered some new Gucci outfit and him and his friends were renting a Phantom… as he sleeps on his friends couch in a low budget apartment building and sits in the balcony at the awards.

Why did the news show the sole protestor of the award show holding a sign telling video vixens to put on some clothes… as she stood there in a midriff in the middle of a cold November evening.

Why must our community always have alcohol sponsors events. (i.e. Courvoisier Presents The Official 2006 BET Hip-Hop Awards After Party.)

FINAL WORD: I didn't invite the awards show here, but I should have," said Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. "It just makes sense with our music industry that they be here, and I hope they return."