It was obvious that Lamar wanted to stay in L.A. That’s good cause we needed him to. Sometimes negotiations can be tricky and feelings can get hurt. But I am glad they worked it out.
It was obvious that Lamar wanted to stay in L.A. That’s good cause we needed him to. Sometimes negotiations can be tricky and feelings can get hurt. But I am glad they worked it out.
She is alleged to have done some outlandish spending from her sorority’s fund. Regardless of the outcome it seems that at the very least there is quite a bit of wasteful spending for clubs like these if this is the way they get down generally.
As the “fellas” gather today to have a cold one at The White House, we see yet another police officer acting as if he is GOP member when it comes to sending emails. But of course, just like the rest of them claims he is not a racist and while naming off the fact that they have a colored TV at home. I don’t know what some people feel racist is, but the words jungle monkey seemed to roll off Officer Justin Barrett’s his fingers rather easily and often. And how do you think he conducts his business when it comes to deciding who to stop, search and interrogate on a daily basis?
This is what most black men are talking about. What happened to Gates happens in some form or another every day to other black men. And yet so many are squabbling over this incident trying to dissect it as if it didn’t have any racial reasoning. Gates outwardly admitted that he had racial feelings, the officer added the two black men element in his police report, not the third party neighbor call, and apparently it was the officer who asked Gates to go outside before he arrested him, because he couldn’t do so in the home.
“I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department,” Powell said. “Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would’ve thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said ‘OK look, it is his house. Let’s not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.’ “
My whole thing is that while most will admit that race is a problem in our country, when it comes to specifics many refuse to admit it on the spot. Racism is cool to talk about as long as there is some ethereal element to it not pointing out the guilty or to speak on the abuse of the innocent.
And just think of the Republicans. It seems that one of these email incidents happen every other week. But supposedly some people act as if we are in some post racial society because we have a president of African descent. Whatever
Add to that… as the meeting approaches between Obama, Gates and Crowley we actually have politicians fussing about what kind of beer is being served. What is everything marketing these days? This again proves that beer is easier to talk about than race or this picture. I am amazed at time with the lack of real talk in America.
I give a lot of credit to former coach Tony Dungy for putting himself out there with Michael Vick. In recent months Dungy, a man of outstanding reputation visited Vick in prison and agreed to be his mentor for not only dealing with possible NFL reinstatement, but for life.
Dungy is an outspoken Christian who in my view really lives what he preaches which is love, forgiveness, and hope. It would be safe for him to speak with Vick on the down low and keep a public distance in case Vick messes up. But he is standing with him publically when many feel Vick shouldn’t play in the NFL again nor even make a living. I can appreciate the older and wiser Dungy putting himself on the line for a convicted felon. Lord knows there are plenty more who are unknown who need someone of influence to help them make their transitions back into mainstream life better as well.
I doubt very seriously that he will get the apology from the police officer that arrested him without cause. But I give him credit for saying what he did and challenging the injustice he received.
There were so many things wrong regarding the entire scenario. Especially the fact that his own neighbors called the police in the first place, and most of all because the Harvard police told the Cambridge police officer who Gates was and that he lived in the house.
But “buckethead” already had his mine made up. I’m sure he thought to himself, “How did you get to live and teach here?” It’s a Rosewood kind of thing. “He’s got a piano. I don’t even have a piano.”
I came across this story recently, and thought it quite clever and interesting. In addition to the original post by the author Marc Lynch, there is a feature on the story from today’s Morning Edition page on NPR.org. Basically he compares foreign policy conflicts to rap feuds. He has a compelling argument too.
After reading the story below, you can have a little more fun with it by listening to this older commentary by music critic Steven Ivory. This clip is from 2004 but it’s relevant he touches on Kim Jong Il and how to avoid a nuclear war with North Korea if our president takes him out for a good time.
Jay-Z vs the Game: Lessons for the American Primacy Debate
Late last week, the Los Angeles rapper the Game launched a blistering attack against the legendary New York blogger rapper :>) Jay-Z. At a series of European shows, the Game led crowds in cheers of “F*** Jay-Z” and “Old Ass N*****”, and at one point went into an obsenity laced (but rather wickedly funny) rampage against Jay-Z’s fiance’ (wife?) Beyonce. Over the weekend, he released “I’m So Wavy [Too Hardcore to be a Jay-Z]“ an inconsistent but catchy attack on Jay-Z (note: all links are to songs which are almost certainly NSFW and which you might find offensive; you’ve been warned). When I started feeding this stuff to my friend Spencer Ackerman last week, his first take was that “the countdown to the end of the Game’s career starts today.” Mine, me being a professor of international relations, was to start thinking about how this could be turned into a story about the nature of hegemony and the debate over the exercise of American power. (That, and how I could waste time that I should be spending on real work.)
See, Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) is the closest thing to a hegemon which the rap world has known for a long time. He’s #1 on the Forbes list of the top earning rappers. He has an unimpeachable reputation, both artistic and commercial, and has produced some of the all-time best (and best-selling) hip hop albums including standouts Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint and the Black Album. He spent several successful years as the CEO of Def Jam Records before buying out his contract a few months ago to release his new album on his own label. And he’s got Beyonce. Nobody, but nobody, in the hip hop world has his combination of hard power and soft power. If there be hegemony, then this is it. Heck, when he tried to retire after the Black Album, he found himself dragged back into the game (shades of America’s inward turn during the Clinton years?).
But the limits on his ability to use this power recalls the debates about U.S. primacy. Should he use this power to its fullest extent, as neo-conservatives would advise, imposing his will to reshape the world, forcing others to adapt to his values and leadership? Or should he fear a backlash against the unilateral use of power, as realists such as my colleague Steve Walt or liberals such as John Ikenberry would warn, and instead exercise self-restraint?
The changes in Jay-Z’s approach over the years suggest that he recognizes the realist and liberal logic… but is sorely tempted by the neo-conservative impulse. Back when he was younger, Jay-Z was a merciless, ruthless killer in the “beefs” which define hip hop politics. He never would have gotten to the top without that. But since then he’s changed his style and has instead largely chosen to stand above the fray. As Jay-Z got older and more powerful, the marginal benefits of such battles declined and the costs increased even as the number of would-be rivals escalated. Just as the U.S. attracts resentment and rhetorical anti-Americanism simply by virtue of being on top, so did Jay-Z attract a disproportionate number of attackers. “I got beefs with like a hundred children” he bragged/complained on one track.
His ability to respond actually declined as his power and enemies list grew, though. As a young 50 Cent spat at him (twisting one of Jay’s own famous lines), “if I shoot you I’m famous, if you shoot me you’re brainless.” He’s generally avoided getting embroiled in beefs since reaching the top, only occasionally and briefly hitting back at provocations from rising contenders like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, and others. Responding to every challenge does not become a hegemon. Indeed, it would be counter-productive and exhausting, and would likely trigger even greater resentment among other rising rappers. Better as hegemon to rise above the fray and accept the sniping of the less powerful while reaping the rewards of a status quo which he dominates and profits from excessively. And that’s what happened: his wealth, status, and structural power rose inexorably despite the potshots and abuse and unmet challenges — indeed, the only real hit he’s taken was self-inflicted, the critical shrug given to the middling “Kingdom Come” album.
When he learnt this lesson might also offer insights into how great powers in IR learn. He changed his style after his most famous beef, and the only one which he lost: his battle with the Queensbridge legend Nas. The reasons for his loss are instructive. Jay-Z launched what Nas later described as a “sneak attack” at a time when the latter’s mother was ailing. Why? Because Nas was at the time recognized widely as the king of NYC rap, and Jay-Z (the rising power) saw that only by knocking off the king could he seize the crown for himself. A few brief skirmishes — a Jay-Z freestyle mentioning Nas, the first “Stillmatic” response from Nas — then led to the full blast of “The Takeover”. Rather than fold, Nas hit back with the instant legend “Ether”. It went back and forth, and then, crucially, Jay-Z misplayed his hand. In “Super Ugly”, about 2 minutes in to a pretty good track, he escalated to a crude personal revelation about his sexual exploits with the mother of Nas’s child — prompting Jay’s mother to call in to a radio station to complain and forcing Jay to apologize. The lesson: just because you’ve got an ace card doesn’t mean you should play it… better to keep it in reserve, for fear of triggering a backlash.
But what happened next is even more interesting. The beef actually helped both: it lit a fire under Nas, who renewed his career, while Jay-Z continued to ascend to his current position (with the Black Album probably still standing as the pinnacle). Jay-Z acknowledged his defeat (on Blueprint 2) and learned lessons from it (while taking a few last shots, and claiming credit for reviging his rival’s career (“I gave you life when n**** had forgotten you MC’d”). Nas opted to settle the beef, reconcile, and sign on with Def Jam Records — where he became one of Jay’s leading and most valuable artists. In a world of unipolarity, both win through co-optation, reconciliation between enemies, and the demonstration that the gains of cooperation outweigh the gains of resistance.
Which brings us back to the Game. The Game (Jayceon Taylor) is a wildly erratic, brilliantly talented L.A. gangsta rapper, a protege of Dr. Dre who started off with 50 Cent and G-Unit. After an ugly break with them, he unleashed a barrage of brutal attacks on G-Unit and 50 Cent culminating in an epic 300 bars freestyle. The Game clearly won the battle on its merits, but 50 Cent’s career continued relatively unharmed (he was #1 on last year’s Forbes list before being displaced by Jay-Z this year, though his reputation as a rapper has declined significantly after some mediocre albums and a humiliating defeat in a public showdown over album sales at the hands of Kanye West, of all people). Meanwhile, the Game established himself as a solid solo act. In that war between a rising power and a upper-echelon middle power, both ultimately benefited.
Jay-Z is a bit different, given his hegemonic status and the absence of a prior relationship. The Game has always had a particularly odd, passive-aggressive relationship with Jay-Z. His first hit “Westside Story” contained a line about not driving Maybachs (Jay’s signature car) which everyone took as a diss. The Game panicked, and spliced into the title track of his debut album “The Documentary” a radio interview explaining that he had meant it as a shot against Ja Rule (everyone’s favorite hip hop punching bag) and that he “never takes shots at legends, that’s just not something I do.” Yeah, right. Over the next few years, he would routinely go out of his way to say that he was not dissing Jay-Z even when it sounded like he was (“before you call this a diss, and you make Hova pissed, why would I do that, when I’m just the new cat, that was taught if a n****take shots to shoot back, defending his yard, yeah standing his ground, I’m sayin if you gonna retire then hand me the crown.”) Think of him as a rising middle power (#13 on the Forbes list, down there with Young Jeezy, he helpfully explains on I’m So Wavy) eyeing the king, ambitious and a bit resentful, and looking for an opening.
So what prompted him to finally cross the line and attack Jay-Z? There doesn’t seem to be anything in the public record to speak of — the proximate cause was a throwaway line in a Jay-Z freestyle which didn’t even attack him (“I ain’t talkin’ about THE GAME”). His ego has always been there, and the Jay-Z obsession (in “360″ earlier this year, he memorably rapped over Jay’s Million and One beat “I’m the king and you better respect it, all I need is Beyonce and a Roc-a-Fella necklace”). Maybe he really just wants to test himself (he says on his Twitter feed “I ALWAYS FELT I WAS GOOD ENUFF 2 GO BAR 4 BAR @ JAY IN A “LYRICAL BEEF”), the way rising powers do. Or maybe he just is hoping for publicity… wouldn’t be the first. But none of that explains the timing, even if it might account for the attack itself. So let’s go with the IR analogies for a moment.
The Game’s own account suggests that he saw vulnerability in Jay-Z’s over-extension. First, supposedly Jay-Z got Chris Brown blackballed from the BET Video Awards by threatening to stay home if he performed. Second, D.O.A., the first single off of Blueprint 3, attacked a whole generation of rappers using the Autotune program to sing (including such great powers as Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West as well as the hapless T-Pain). Taken together, that might add up to a growing resentment which could be exploited. Maybe he calculated that now was the moment to strike, and that the rest of the middle powers will ally with him to topple the tyrant.
But still, the timing is odd for a “power transition” narrative, given that Jay-Z is set to release his new Blueprint 3 album in September and has done a whole series of verses with other leading rappers in recent years (including Nas, Lil Wayne, and T.I.) which is to hip hop as “alliances” are to International Relations. He may be old, but hardly looks like a declining power…. although perhaps Game simply detects weakness in Jay-Z’s age. After all, he tweeted at one point that he “really don’t hate jay’s old music, but this new sh!t is convalescent home elevator music.” He clearly understands the extent of Jay-Z’s structural power, daring a long list of influential DJs to play I’m So Wavy.
So what does Jay-Z do? If he hits back hard in public, the Game will gain in publicity even if he loses… the classic problem of a great power confronted by a smaller annoying challenger. And given his demonstrated skills and talent, and his track record against G-Unit, the Game may well score some points. At the least, it would bring Jay-Z down to his level — bogging him down in an asymmetric war negating the hegemon’s primary advantages. If Jay-Z tries to use his structural power to kill Game’s career (block him from releasing albums or booking tour dates or appearing at the Grammy Awards), it could be seen as a wimpy and pathetic operation — especially since it would be exposed on Twitter and the hip hop blogs.
The Realist advice? His best hope is probably to sit back and let the Game self-destruct, something of which he’s quite capable (he’s already backing away from the hit on Beyonce) — while working behind the scenes to maintain his own alliance structure and to prevent any defections over to the Game’s camp. And it seems that thus far, that’s exactly what he’s doing. We’ll see if that’s a winning strategy…. or if he’s just biding his time getting ready for a counter-attack. Either way, I’ve succeeded in wasting a lot of time so… mission accomplished!
Since this is the 40th anniversary of the walk on the moon, I am reminded of the beliefs of some that the moon walk was a hoax. Did Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong really walk on the moon? Or was this a fraud put on by NASA?
There hasn’t been a recent poll I can reference, but according to Wikipedia page on the subject, there has been some poll data as recent as the last decade that all Americans are not convinced that we landed on the moon.
What do you think? Did we land on the moon or is this an ongoing hoax?
Why do you believe one way or the other?
(Pictured L-R) Me, Chrystal, Justin and Xavier (M)
(CNN) — Far from flowing rainbow flags, the sound of Lady Gaga and, quite honestly, white people, stands a nightclub just outside of Wicker Park in Chicago, Illinois, by the name of The Prop House.
The line to get in usually stretches down the block, and unlike many of the clubs in Boystown and Andersonville, this one plays hip-hop and caters to men who may or may not openly identify as gay, but without question are black and proud.
And a good number of them are tired of hearing how the gay community is disappointed in President Obama, because they are not.
In recent weeks, one would have thought the nation’s first black president was also the nation’s biggest homophobe. Everyone from Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and radio personality Rachel Maddow to Joe Solmonese, the president of Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay advocacy group, seem to be blasting Obama for everything from “don’t ask don’t tell” to Adam Lambert not winning American Idol.
In their minds, Obama is not moving fast enough on behalf of the GLBT community. The outcry is not completely without merit — the Justice Department’s unnerving brief on the Defense of Marriage Act immediately comes to mind. I was upset by some of the statements, but not surprised. (After the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, President Ronald Reagan’s initial handling of AIDS and, more recently, Katrina, there is little that surprises me when it comes to the government and the treatment of its people.)
Still, rarely has criticism regarding Obama and the GLBT community come from the kind of person you would find standing in line at a spot like The Prop House, and there’s a reason for that.
Despite the catchiness of the slogan, gay is not the new black.
Black is still black.
And if any group should know this, it’s the gay community.
Bars such as The Prop House, or Bulldogs in Atlanta, Georgia, exist because a large number of gay blacks — particularly those who date other blacks, and live in the black community — do not feel a part of the larger gay movement. There are Gay Pride celebrations, and then there are Black Gay Prides.
There’s a popular bar in the heart of the nation’s capital that might as well rename itself Antebellum, because all of the white patrons tend to stay upstairs and the black patrons are on the first floor. Last year at the annual Human Rights Campaign national fundraiser in Washington, D.C. — an event that lasted more than three hours — the only black person to make it on stage was the entertainment.
When Proposition 8 passed in California, white gays were quick to blame the black community despite blacks making up less than 10 percent of total voters and whites being close to 60 percent. At protest rallies that followed, some gay blacks reported they were even hit with racial epithets by angry white participants. Not to split hairs, but for most blacks, the n-word trumps the f-word.
So while the white mouthpiece of the gay community shakes an angry finger at intolerance and bigotry in their blogs and on television, blacks and other minorities see the dirty laundry. They see the hypocrisy of publicly rallying in the name of unity but then privately living in segregated pockets. And then there is the history.
The 40th anniversary of Stonewall dominated Gay Pride celebrations around the country, and while that is certainly a significant moment that should be recognized, 40 years is nothing compared with the 400 blood-soaked years black people have been through in this country. There are stories some blacks lived through, stories others were told by their parents and stories that never had a chance to be told.
While those who were at Stonewall talk about the fear of being arrested by police, 40 years ago, blacks talked about the fear of dying at the hands of police and not having their bodies found or murder investigated. The 13th Amendment was signed in 1865, and it wasn’t until 1948 that President Harry S Truman desegregated the military. That’s more than an 80-year gap.
Not to be flip, but Miley Cyrus is older than Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.” That doesn’t mean that the safety of gay people should be trivialized or that Obama should not be held accountable for the promises he made on the campaign trail. But to call this month’s first-ever White House reception for GLBT leaders “too little too late” is akin to a petulant child throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat his dessert before dinner. This is one of the main reasons why so many blacks bristle at the comparison of the two movements — everybody wants to sing the blues, nobody wants to live them.
This lack of perspective is only going to alienate a black community that is still very proud of Obama and is hypersensitive about any criticism of him, especially given he’s been in office barely six months.
If blacks are less accepting of gays than other racial groups — and that is certainly debatable — then the parade of gay people calling Obama a “disappointment” on television is counterproductive in gaining acceptance, to say the least. And the fact that the loudest critics are mostly white doesn’t help matters either.
Hearing that race matters in the gay community may not be comforting to hear, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
**** BB&G Notes – Opinions for either argument are welcome. Please come intelligent regardless.