Part 1

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give thanks to the people who moved and inspired us. We give awards and accolades long after they were deserved. Some of these artist made us feel, think and others showed us that it is okay to human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps some of these artist will be rediscover by some and seen in a new way by others. We grew up watching R & B borrow from soul and jazz elements, to co-opting hip hop grooves, to mixtures of pop and now even techno musings. I have created this list not based solely on sales, or emotions, what this means is that having a hit or two wont get you on this list, while dropping a classic album might. These artist had guts, creativity, range and most importantly impact and without them R & B would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, but here are my top 15.

1. Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul)

She epitomized gospel-charged soul and has 18 Grammys,  20 No. 1 singles, 45 “Top 40” hits, to back that up. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist with 14. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 #1 R&B albums – more than any other female artist. The term “Diva” was coined just to describe her talents. Ms. Franklin is the epitome of a trailblazer with her vocal style and ability and is one of the few living legends who can still perform at a high level to this day. Franklin was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Respect”,”Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You”,  “Think”, “Chain of Fools”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel”

2. Whitney Houston (Whitney)

at 170 Million albums sold Whitney is the most awarded female singer ever. She has number 1 albums and soundtracks that have powered her film roles. Whitney is one od the few singers who could sing anything and it would be a hit. Case in point the “Star Spangled Banner” , which she performed at Superbowl XXV , was released as a single and was in the top 20. In the early 90’s Whitney skillfully rode Michael Jackson’s wake and knocked the doors opened for other female artist such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker “Because of what Whitney did, there was an opening for me… For radio stations, black women singers aren’t taboo anymore.’ says Baker. Whitney tackled big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with with dexterity and grace.  She was commondly referred to as a phenomon because when she sang a song…it was sung and no one could do it better. “Greatest Love of All”,  “I’m Every Woman”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Your Baby Tonight”


3. Etta James

James has four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. In the 1950s and 1960s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for her son “At last”.  In modern times Ms. James is often overlooked, but she can flat out sang and her music has lived on for decades. “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” “Stop the Wedding,” and “Would It Make Any Difference to You”

4. Patti Labelle

A one woman powerhouse of vocal & musical ability, Ms. Labelle is one of a kind. Blessed with power, range and passion her voice is as powerful as it is graceful.  Her unwavering appeal has spanned more than five decades. She has hits such as “On My Own,” “Somebody Loves You Baby” and “New Attitude.” There is no one quite like entertainment legend Patti LaBelle. “On My Own“, “If Only You Knew“, “Have a Little Faith in Me”, “If You Asked Me To“, “Stir It Up” and “New Attitude“.

5. Chaka Khan

in the 1970s she was the frontwoman of the band Rufus, however, her solo body of work stands on its own. As a singer she is the most diverse with her range and vocal skill. When it wasn’t fashionable for singers to record their own background vocals, Khan made her own fashion statement and arranged her own. Chaka Khan is clearly in a class by herself. Her vocal style, identifiable in a flash, is a major force of nature in music, a sound like no other.  “I’m Every Woman”, “This Is My Night”, “Got To Be There”, “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me”, and “I Feel For You”

Billie Holiday, Dionne Warwick, Minne Ripperton, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and many others.

Part 2 

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In the 80’s Hip Hop needed to co-op rock music with songs like, Run DMC’s “Walk this Way” . In the 90’s Hip-Hop co-oped R & B with albums brilliant albums like, “What’s the 411”. Today it is those genres that need Hip Hop and all of its elements just to survive. Whether it’s rock or pop acts who are rapping but saying that they aren’t, or singers who put the latest hip hop star on a track the impact of Hip Hop has been felt in every genre of music and here are the people most responsible for that, they exist beyond regular rap. This list is not solely based on album sales, or lyrics, one of the mot important criteria for this list is impact. So before you hip hop heads go crazy with the WTF’s, just ask yourself ‘Where would Hip Hop be today if none of these rappers existed?’ If you don’t see your favorite rapper on this list it is most likely because they are one dimensional, have lyrics written by other people or perhaps you are the one that is short-sighted.

 

14. Redman There are very few rappers as skilled as Redman. In term of using braggadocios wit and hard hitting beats, he is the most consistent rapper on this list and most underrated. If you have ever used the pop-culture gesture, “Raise the Roof”, then you owe him.  Redman is an elder statesman with distinctive voice and flow who exploded on to the hip-hop scene in 1992 with Whut? Thee Album. (I Be Dat, Let’s Get Dirty, On Da 99, My Zone, Whatever Man, How High, Whateva man, i’ll be dat, Pick it Up, Da Rockwilder)

 

 

13. Nelly: Is it getting hot in herre? In 2000 he blessed us with the 9x Platinum “Country Grammar” he introduced the nation to Mid West rap, or should I say the Dirty South. Skillfully rapping with unforgettable hooks and an unmistakable mid-west twang. Nelly put the Mid West on the rap map, period. Nelly’s Country Grammar opened the door that Ludacris, T.I. and Lil Wayne have walked through and that’s saying a whole lot. In 2004 the video for “Tip Drill” was released, this was a video full of strippers and naked video vixens, Nelly slid a credit card between a naked ass, after which the the lady started to pop her ass for Nelly. This video sparked controversy from black women’s groups and media, who said “Nelly and other rapper were saying that women were only good for one thing…sex.” This controversy not only led to the banning of the video “Tip Drill”, and other staple raunchy rap videos, but by the end of 2005 hip hop videos were forever changed to reflect a more creative, less overtly sexual tone. This controversy almost ruined Nelly. Nelly is also the only other rapper beside Snoop Dog to have a number #1 hit on the Country Charts. Album- Country Grammar, Nellyville (Dilemma, My Place, Country Grammar, Tip Drill, Hot in Herre 2, and Over & Over)

12. DMX His first major-label album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”, was released in May 1998 and debuted on the #1 on the Billboard 200. It was this album that began the comparisons to Tupac.  In December of 1998 he released “Flesh of My Flesh and Blood of My Blood”, which also debuts #1. DMX was the second rapper to have two albums released the same year debut at #1, the only other rapper was Tupac Shakur. With dark beats and harsh DMX pushed boundaries of imagery and sanity with lyrics on love, rage, God complete with prayers. Albums- It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

11. Nas: With his densely packed flow, he is the best technical rapper of his generation. Nas created a style of rapping that was more conversational, with compound rhymes and words that run into a bar. During a feud with Jay-Z, Nas solidified his stance as rap’s best by releasing a crushing battle track called “Ether.” Though his raps took a more popularized slant in the ‘90s, he has consistently delivered cutting-edge material.  His first album, “Illmatic”, is widely considered the greatest hip-hop debut of all time.  Album: (Illmatic), Songs: (It ain’t hard to tell, If I ruled the world, Ether, One love, Black Girl Lost, Book of Rhymes)

10. Biggie Smalls: A lyrical genius. His song are real life and words add up to something. His skills were untouchable, his flow almost supernatural, and for a fat man his swagger was unmatched. Biggies is credited with changing the game of rap, Biggie was to the East Coast what Tupac was to the West Coast. Biggie released two classic Hip Hop albums “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death” which made him a Hip Hop icon. He changed the way MC’s flow when he blessed “Notorious Thugs” with a verse, using the Bone Thugs style better than they did themselves. He is also one of the great storytellers in Hip Hop, unfortunate he career was cut short with his life. (Hypnotize, Juicy, What’s Beef, Warning, Kick In the Door, Who Shot Ya, Unbelievable)

9. Ice Cube: is an original Member of NWA. He along with Dr. Dre was at the forefront of 90’s gangsta rap era. A gifted storyteller, only his stories usually revolve around illegal acts and retribution. His lyrics were tough and hardcore as he scared Hollywood with his anti-white, misogynist, antisemitic lyrics and Hollywood still gave him movie roles, now that’s gangsta.  He continued to push the gangsta vibe when he created the group, Westside Connection. Westside Connection had two year olds to eighty-two year olds throwing up four fingers with two twisted in the middle. He, Snoop Dog and Too Short are the only mainstream rappers who have used curse words if they were periods and still had hit songs. He manages to stay relevant, but even more than that he has been producing television shows and is a serious actor, who every now and then still finds time to drop a gangsta album. Today his music is considered to conscious to receive radio-play. Whether he is dropping a Hip Hop movie classic like “Friday”, or producing television shows, we’ve beening trying to guess the color of his shoe laces for years. At the eight spot he may still be underrated on  the consciousness of his lyric alone.  Album- Greatest Hits (Go to church, Once Upon a Time in the Projects, You know how we do it, We be clubbin’, It Was A Good Day, Check Yo Self, You Know How We Do It, Bow Down, Why We Thugs,Natural Born Killers)

8. Ludacris: Others claim to be the King of the South, but Luda actually is the King. He popularize the Dirty South, so much that his reach touches each coast. “Word of Mouth” was a classic album regardless of the coastal region. Interesting hooks, unique style, distinctive voice, sexual overtones. A Ludacris themed album is just pure entertainment. Versatile is a word that can’t even describe Ludacris, so lets put uniquely in front of that. Luda opened up the mid western hip hop to the masses. As the market has saturated with sub par commercial rap fair Luda has taken his appeal into movie roles. Albums- Word of Mouf (Move Bitch, Area Codes, Southern Hospitality, What’s your fantasy, Stand up, Act a fool, One More Drink, Money Maker, Last of a dying breed)

7. Kanye West: He is what Tupac would be if he were raised upper middle class. Complete with social issues, political, dis and controversial all in one rap song. His flow is more akin to Spoken Word, while he may not quite be Taalam Acey he does puts it down quite nicely. He gained fame by producing Jay Z’s albums and spitting bars through a wire (while his mouth was wired shut), and then he took Jesus to the top of the hip hop and pop charts. His style is uncommon eclectic to perfection. I have always maintained that Kanye is what Tupac would be if he were middle class in the millennium, but Kanye almost to a fault love to experiment on track production. His album 2007 “Graduation” retired rapper 50 Cent. Kanye was influenced by RZA’s uses of distinctive and intricate string arrangements over his own drum tracks. He uses unique instrumentation to push the limits of creativity with each albums, sometimes he pushes a bit too far…with albums such as Yeezus which is vicious, petulant, abrasive and colossally vain.  Albums- Graduation, 808s & Heartbreak, Late Registration, The College Dropout. His collab album “Watch The Throne” with Jay Z goes even to further show his versatility and passion.

6. Jay Z  He had a hard knock life, but he is arguably the most versatile rapper ever he can flow to any beat, his wordplay is of the highest order and his presence on the mic is unmatched.  Even though he lost a rap battle to rival Nas, the war was won in the end by Jay Z. Hova is proof that if you speak clearly and have skills you can stay local and still be a national hit. His debut album “Reasonable Doubt” heralded his arrival, but he didn’t stop there, he then dropped “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album” both classic albums in their own right. There is one thing the business side of  Jay Z knows is that the audience is not only watching, it is changing, so he filled the, also classic, album “Hard Knock Life” with tons of mainstream appeal and he also shows his daring side in the experimental collaborative album “Watch The Throne” with Kanye West. Even when Jay-Z rest on his laurel with the 2013’s unpredictable “Magna Carta Holy Grail” shows that no matter the age Jay Z is an artistic rebel as well as a family stalwart  (99 Problems, Dope Man, This can’t be life, Brooklyn’s Finest, Hard Knock Life, Regrets)

                                                                                                        

5. Tupac Shakur: He rapped about poverty in America, but more importantly he rapped about how we should stop it. Tupac was rap’s greatest storyteller of all-time. His ability to convey the gangster lifestyle was unmatched. His popularity and notoriety exceeds that of any hip-hop artist. The East Coast, West Coast beef and the eventual shooting deaths of Tupac and Biggie remain rap’s biggest stories. He was the first rapper to enjoy success internationally. He earned movie roles in Above the Rim, Juice and Poetic Justice. Honestly Tupac would have had many more great songs and been higher on this list, if he wasn’t always allowing wack rappers to follow him on tracks and if he hadn’t been murdered. His verses have saved many a song, and are the only reason we listened to them. When it came to telling it like it is, or how we felt no one did it better and Tupac. Power, Spiteful, Passion, Outrageous and Inflammatory, Tupac pondered the afterlife and why, with all of our resources, social ills still persist. He didn’t need the dopest beatmaker, or a corporate machine to produce him to perfection, he just needed a mic and it was ‘Tupac against the World’. Tupac’s voice was and still is the voice of the streets. Albums- Greatest Hits (When Thugz Cry, Only God can judge me, Hail Mary, Brenda’s Got a Baby, Keep Ya Head Up, Life Goes On, Me Against the World, Ambitionz as a Ridah, Letter To My Unborn, I Wonder If Heaven’s Got a Ghetto, Hit ‘Em Up’, Changes, 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, Blasphemy)

4. Snoop Dog: Snoop has stretched out more vowels and dismantled more of the English language than any rapper hands down. His unique laid back cadence and delivery sets him apart from any other rapper. Snoop along with Warren G and Nate Dogg put Long Beach forever on the map. Snoop has dropped lyrics on Pop, Rock, Country and Reggae tracks and that says a lot for a Gangsta rapper from Long Beach California. After gracing Dr Dre’s “The Chronic” with his confident, laid-back flow, Snoop dropped the most important west coast release in the history of Hip Hop 1993’s “DoggyStyle”.  He helped make Death Row records (a label Tupac was also signed to) a force in the music game.  He has graced many rap albums with incredible 16’s. Snoop is constantly reinventing himself. In 2013 he dropped the reggae album Reincarnated. Reincarnated is a very good album and it is Snoop’s most positive and least commercially successful album to date, indicating that there may be a connection with negativity and hip hopSo much of an icon. in movie roles he typically stars as himself, because he’s the most interesting rapper in the world. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and Tupac earned the West Coast a level of respect it has since lost. Albums- Doggystyle (Gin and Juice, Drop it like it’s hot, Murder was the case, 2 of Amerikaz most wanted, Ain’t No Fun, Sensual Seduction, Lighters Up, What’s my name)

3. Eminem  His first two albums were instant classics.  His song are about true life experiences but more than that he is a lyrical mastermind. His flow is as faster and his verbiage is more on point than anyone in the game. His ability to cut people down with words is second to none. His albums are not happy, they are not party albums, they are drug addicted, domestic violence laden serious and personal albums that always seems to spark controversy. In an entertainment business that turns largely on race, Em has in many ways transcended that argument, although race has a lot to do with his broader appeal, which is evident by the fact that he has sold more albums than any other rapper. Albums- The Slim ShadyLP, Marshal Mathers LP,  (Remember me, Rock Bottom, Till I collapse, Role Model, The way I am, Stan)

 

2. KRS-1: A philosopher and poet among rappers. He put out five albums under the name Boogie Down Productions (BDP). He pre-dates raps movement towards guns and drugs and instead delivered lyrics with a message, that message was that “You Must Learn”. If the black community had an issue he rapped about it. He spoke to the spirit and the mind of the hip-hop and those that love it. Not afraid to provoke thoughts, or express his opinion he set the standard for New York Hip Hop in the late 80’s. He was crucial in organizing dozens of rappers into the “Stop the Violence Movement”, to help curb the violence in hip hop and black communities. Krs-1 is the chief promoter of Hip Hip culture, he is noted for battling any challenger that tried to stepped to his throne and he is the most respected rapper on this list.. (You Must Learn, Hip Hop Lives, South Bronx, The Bridge is over, Criminal Minded, My Philosophy, Stop the violence,

1.  Tie (Dr. Dre & P. Diddy)

Dr. Dre: What rapper/producer’s name has been uttered more times on albums than his? No ones. And that should tell you all you need to know about his impact on the world of musuc. He entered the big time with the rap group NWA. He introduced the world to Gangsta Rap, D.O.C., Snoop Dog, Eminem, 50 Cent and Music ring-tones. He used multi-layered, melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, deep bass, a sine wave keyboard and a liberal sampling of P-funk tunes as he developed G-Funk to power the laid back West Coast vibe of  sex, drugs, violence, gangsterism and promiscuous sex. When you forgot about him, he reminded you. His beats alone have powered more top 10 hits than any other rap producer and his pupils are on this list beneath him. Albums- The Chonic, 2001 (Xxplosive, What’s the difference, Forgot about Dre, Light speed, Let me Ride, Kush)

P. Diddy  The rapper/producer who was the driving force behind Biggie, Mary J. Blige, Usher and a half dozen other rappers and groups. He brought hip hop reality television to the masses. He and protege Mase ended gangsta raps reign with shiny suits. What rapper didn’t want to make is band? He introduced the R & B world to Keysha Cole, while he put a brand new Flava in yo ear. Even with average lyrics Sean, Diddy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy or whatever he is calling himself now-a-days has constantly beats his haters expectations. Name changes, identity crisis, business side, controversy, creativity and unusual collaborations…that is Combs, from Hip Hop from childhood to adulthood all the while his lyrics displayed relationship and religious conflicts. The uniformed masses will no doubt hate it, but Combs is the Portrait of the artist as a young rapper. Albums- No Way Out (Can’t nobody hold me down, I’ll be missing you, Been around the world, Last Night, I need a girl, Hello good morning)

Dr. Dre and P. Diddy have rapped, produced and shepherded Hip Hop from puberty, through gangsta rap and the lean corporate years. Today corporate production only focuses on catchy phrases, hooks and making sure that the music stays more powerful than lyrics. For those who wondered how middle age hip hoppers will fair, just look at these two is the answered because they’ve done it. The one true omission from the top spot is Will Smith, who is without argument the most popular rapper that ever existed, but let’s leave him at the #1 actor spot.

Very worthy of mention: Drake, Slick Rick, Rakim,Kool G Rap, Busta Rhymes, Timberland, T.I.,GZA, L.L. Cool J, E-40, Too Short, Big Daddy Kane, Kirk Franklin, Ice T, Scarface, Raekwon, Heavy D, *Justin Timberlake, 50 cent, Common, Lil Wayne, Nate Dogg, Chuck D, Mos Def, Method Man, Twista,  Lil John, Kool Moe Dee, Ben Haggerty, Ja-Rule, Kurupt, Mystical and Big Pun. Unlike many of todays rappers the rappers on this list can tell you more about themselves, through their music, than I ever could.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/MG-Hardie/277636622262511 (Join the movement)

For decades Oprah Winfrey has done many things to help people whether that help came from the Oprah show’s subject matter, giving her audience members cars or opening up a school. It can even be said her 2007 endorsement of Barack Obama is what put him over the top in his bid to become president of the United States of America. First let me be clear, I know that because of the amount of hair on my face that there is zero chance that I will be on Oprah’s show. That being the case, I have no problem with Oprah at all. Oprah Winfrey is an amazing woman who has overcome unbelievable odds to become one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.

The Oprah show is largely positive, but at times it is a show of sexual anxiety, victim hood, exploitation, and dark vision of sexual relationships. Strong positive Black Men are almost non-existent on Oprah’s show. On Friday, Oprah has a live show of weekly recaps and talks about current events in a round table type of atmosphere. On Friday Jul 9, 2010 a riot broke out in Oakland California, over the police shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant, a black man, that same day Oprah was on her show eerily saying “Huuugh Jaaackmannn… I love his butt.”

What is the Message?

On Friday, March 6 of 2009 Oprah had an intervention show for Rihanna, where she famously said “If a man hits you once, he will hit you again“, in a reference to the recent altercation between singers Rihanna and Chris Brown. Many of the singers acquaintances and friends spoke out on the issue. However, Oprah, at the time, did not know Rihanna and this show was done more than a month later. Chris Brown said that since he knew Oprah and had done shows for her, that he thought that she would at least lend a helping hand and not parade him through the mud. When Bebe Winans was accused to domestic abuse Oprah didn’t cancel his appearance on her show until public protect demanded it. No one is trying to defending Chris “Fake Tears” Brown, but Oprah’s message wasn’t really directed to Rihanna, was it?

The people she supports usually sit next to her, while the opposite opinion often sit in the front row of the audience waiting to be called upon When Oprah was in Africa she said “I will not rest until every black boy and black girl has a chance to prove their worth.”, then she opened up a school for girls only.

On Friday , July 16 2010 on the Gayle King show, in referring to Mel Gibson’s tapped conversations with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, Oprah stated “Most men in America speak to their women like Mel Gibson.” She can only know this if she has her own Talk Show Patriot Act and she might.

On an episode with Lance Armstrong, Oprah said “I never got married because I just wanted to always be myself.” Every relationship is a risk and marriage is supposed to be an partnership between individuals.

One episode stated that 70% black women are single. Seriously, is this a fact or a feeling?

Another Oprah show said that 1 out of 3 men are cheaters. This may be a correct statement, but Oprah’s shows somehow make it seem that these “Cheaters” are cheating alone, or as if the person they cheat with never knew that they were married. Raise your hand if you really think that the women Tiger Wood’s cheated with didn’t know that he was married. Tiger was dragged through the mud and rightly so, but the “Home Wreckers” are still being celebrated.


Shows like: “Men who have beaten Women”, “7 ways to end violence” and “Red Flags” are only offered to make viewers believe that Men are the beginning and end any violent act. Many claim that her shows are about empowerment, but do shows like “Wish Away Cancer”,  “A Lunchtime Face-Lift”, “Turn Back The Clock”, “Thin Your Thighs”, “Cure Menopause!”, “Erase Wrinkles”, “Banish Obesity”, really empower anything other than ratings?

You are probably saying “He’s hatin’”, or more likely “what’s the big deal. It’s just a talk show.” Oprah is the most powerful woman in media. Her show is seen in countries all over the world. So if she is constantly presenting misinformation, and one-sided opinions of males, black men in particular, then the question has to be asked; is she aiding in the racism and abuse that black men face on a daily basis? It is her show, she doesn’t have to be fair, nor does she have to be balanced, but if this is considered normal then America is not a mentally healthy nation. Men and Women are to be valued. Men are as much a part of the equation as women are. What kind of answer to do you get when you only solve half of an equation?


For decades Americans have accepted marginalization of individuals and groups, and here is where Oprah is no different. Oprah Winfrey as well as others have, perhaps unwittingly, taught the youth of America that in some respects that it is okay to mistreat someone if you can claim victim hood. These types of cycles persist in America because many of the root causes are not exposed and addressed; they are ignored, distorted, or deflected. Perhaps we all should be taking the lyrics of Travis McCoy’s “Billionaire” song to heart. In order for our nation society, in order for nation to grow everyone needs to have value. Now more than ever Americans need equality not superiority and you can put that in your Fat Wagon and pull it.

By the way Oprah telling Barbara Walters that you wished you were white is nothing to be proud about.

Part 1

Part 3


For years Oprah Winfrey has with her money and reach done many things to help people whether that help came from the Oprah show’s subject matter, giving her audience members cars or opening up a school in Africa. It can even be said her 2007 endorsement of Barack Obama is what put him over the top in his bid to become president of the United States of America. First let me be clear that while there is zero chance of my book being included in Oprah’s Book club, I have no problem with Oprah at all. Oprah Winfrey is an amazing person who has overcome unbelievable odds to become one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.


The Early Years

In September of 1986 The Oprah Winfrey Show was nationally syndicated. “Winfrey saw television’s power to blend public and private; while it links strangers and conveys information over public airwaves, TV is most often viewed in the privacy of our homes. Like a family member, it sits down to meals with us and talks to us in the lonely afternoons. Grasping this paradox, …She makes people care because she cares. That is Winfrey’s genius, and will be her legacy, as the changes she has wrought in the talk show continue to permeate our culture and shape our lives.” OPRAH WINFREY: The TV Host by Deborah Tannen,Time Magazine.

In the mid-1990s, Winfrey adopted a less tabloid-oriented format, doing shows about heart disease, spirituality, meditation and home decorating. She often interviews celebrities on issues that directly involve them in some way, such as cancer, charity work or substance abuse. In addition, she interviews ordinary people who have done extraordinary things or been involved in important current issues.

Oprah is the most-watched US daytime talk show, aims to empower women. This article examines the show’s representations of gender and how images of `race’, sexuality and class cross-cut them. It considers the show’s status as television psychology. It explores the show’s translation of aspects of black feminism to television, and discusses the social implications of its `super-real’ representations.” Empowering Women? The Oprah Winfrey Show. Feminism & Psychology February 1994, Corrine Squire

Oprah’s early years of triumph and success were built on shows of Abuse. Abuse that was always male and often a black one. If she had a story on cheating, she would follow the same model, males in general and black in particular. Do black men do these things? Sure they do, but on the Oprah show, it seemed as if all black men do these things.

If Oprah had a show for the great husbands, or fathers of America. The show would  be littered with white men, hardly if ever a black male, or even another minority male. Black male bad, White male good, Female superior are the themes that are constant to Oprah’s audience.

Fans of her show will never see her “bash” males, she brings others on the show for that. What you see when you watch her show is great gift ideas, good recipes, self-help advice, the rehabilitation of a celebrities career and who doesn’t get to know something about our favorite celebrities. She does invite males on her show, and they are usually viewed as “non-threatening”, or safe. And somehow her shows always seem to portray average black men as monsters and average white men as heroes. Yes it is Oprah’s show and she can do what she pleases with it. It is unfortunate that she seems to paint males as the very incarnation of violence, and young black males as monsters. For Oprah only women can be angels, and for the most part they are white as well.


We all understand helping women, but even more so we understand helping anyone in need, regardless of whether they too much hair on their face, or too much bass in their voice, this is just as egregious as helping someone due only to skin color. While there is no issues with Oprah the talk show host, there is an issue with Oprah the teacher, doctor or relationship expert by what she says and what she allows to be said on her show. She is to be commended because she is not and exploiter like Maury, Springer or Tyra. No one is perfect and this is something that Oprah, based on her history, should know first hand. In many respects Oprah deserves a lot of credit for tackling many important issues, except her own.



Part 2 Part 3

It’s a new year which means it is also time once again for Hollywood to deny America’s racial diversity. This years’ white-washing of Hollywood films is nothing new. If you even mention the fact that minority actors, are being replaced, or that Anglo-Saxons are chosen instead of minorities for the sake of sales, you will be perceived as a dinosaur, or even a racist. And I could see you ripping people as being jaded or having some major type of issue, if  the white-washing were not occurring. However, the only thing happening is that Americans are now more willing to overlook racial intolerance and slights, especially on the internet, perhaps that is what is meant by Post-Racial. In America Post-Racial means being about to voice your racism without having to check it first and looking beyond racism, even when it is right in front of you. I routinely get the N-word dropped on me via Youtube, I can only assume that electronic anonymity somehow breeds courage.

best man holiday

Even though 2013 will go down as a historic year for black film, in terms of movies made, gone are the golden age of black of the ’90s Movies such as “House Party” “Boyz in the Hood”, “New Jack City” , “Juice”, “Poetic Justice”, “Boomerang”, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, “Menace to Society” , “Set It Off”, ”Jason’s Lyric”, “Tales From the Hood”, “Friday”, “Above the Rim” , “Malcolm X”, “Waiting to Exhale” , “Love Jones”, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, “Brown Sugar”, “Bad Boys” “Life” and “The Best Man”. Today some black actors have felt the need to marry white to be accepted in Hollywood the case of The Best Man Holiday is a prime example of this. These actors are employed so this does work to a degree. For some actors even this co-opting method isn’t enough and it is usually met with notions of selling out. It’s not just black actors that are doing this.

Actors are well aware  of just how prevalent the media’s white-washing is in our culture, I don’t need to mention the very egregious Harry Potter,  Twilight and Hunger Games series do I. The dominate culture overlooks this white washing because it’s inconsequential to their lives, but if a black Santa was placed in every shopping center around the country most white folks wouldn’t allow their children to take photos with him, white privilege is something minorities do not have and have been conditioned to accept. It is either accept the coded racial acting as with Toyota’s Swagger Wagon rap commercial, a T-Mobile spokesperson rapping, it’s hyping Disney’s The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or marry white or breed into the dominate white culture.

in 2010 The Book of Eli was released and it was for all intents and purposes was a “Black” film, but it was not marketed as such. In fact, one would have to say that Mila Kunis (Solara) was added to the film for the sole purpose of “whitening up” the cast for public consumption.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, was a popular cartoon long before it was made into a movie. However, the Native American and Asian cast of the cartoon somehow never made it into the movie. This movie has already been boycotted by several Asian groups. Even with boycotts they still casted Justin Chatwin to play Goku in the Dragon Ball: Evolution.

Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 is one of the few movies to employ more than one Asian co-star Lucy Lu and Jackie Chan. It is a movie set in China that deal with Chinese themes, which doesn’t quite explain how Jack Black and Angelina Jolie get top billing in the Kung Fu Panda movies, a cartoon that only required their voice, could it be that they sound White… nope this decision was also based on being white because Lucy Lu’s voice has no ethnic distinction. After all the children must be brainwashed early.

Apparently relegating minorities to sports or making them mutants just isn’t enough. In the movie Wanted (2008)  Angelina Jolie was cast as the female lead, although the comic book character “Fox” is clearly black, she has also played the roles of Cleopatra and Mariane Pearl.

Disney’s Frog Princess (2009) relegated the “Black” princess to a frog for 70 percent of the movie, thereby completely ignoring race. Disney is smart. Avatar “the #1 movie of all time”, is another movie completely about race and ethic revolts that is resolved by whites. They once again save the ignorant native people…faster than you can you say Dances with Wolves.

The Prince of Persia:  The Sands of Time has taken white washing to a whole new level. Prince of Persia had its roots as a popular video game that stars a Middle Eastern hero. Since this was a well established games series the studios didn’t  have to do much, they just took everything from the game… everything except the Middle Eastern hero.Instead Disney decided to cast the Swedish-Jewish Jake Gyllenhall as the hero Dastan, complete with a British accent.

By using video games and comic books as a base, studios have room to move when it comes to story line and plot, but if you are a director why play to the fickle whims of a psychotic nation? Are they afraid of color, or perhaps Hollywood saying that only Caucasians have sex in the city either.

Hollywood is vindicated for their white-washing method when the public whole heartedly accepts an all white cast has to struggle for civil-rights as they have done with the X-Men series. This Hollywood racial ideal does not just apply to cartoons or movies based on comics, think about it and while you’re thinking about that remember the X-Men comic books aree based entirely off of Blacks, their plight, specialness and struggle for acceptance as Stan Lee put it.

X-Men: First Class doesn’t have one African-American starring in it, this  is particularly egregious because the Professor X and Magneto are specifically based on civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. If I didn’t tell you, you would you have known… now you can look at X-Men First Class differently.

Hollywood finds people of color in abundance when the role is that of a thug, drug deal or a terrorist, but it enters a people of color desert when the role is that of the main character. This acceptability is everywhere often it’s subtle such as, when Zoe Zaldana says something like “I’m Dominican, Lebanese, Indian, Irish, Jamaican.” Then she turns around and plays the role of African-American freedom fighter Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon).

Of course Captain America has to be the All-American White Boy… And Green Lantern too? On second thought why isn’t Captain America Asian?

In Tropic Thunder Robert Downey Jr. received acclaim from portraying a black man.

This Couple’s Retreat poster’s racism is so blatant, there is no need for me to comment.

The reality is that any actor can go from the bed to the screen, it just so happens that the majority that do are White actors. Maybe there are fewer minorities in film because minorities refuse the “casting couch” audition. In Hollywood white actors are elevated to icon status when they convincingly play a minority. This practice in Hollywood is as common as recycling story lines and casting couches.

There is a lot of history behind this Racebending practice, John Wayne played Genghis Khan. Yul Bynnner played a Thailand King and an Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II. Charlton Heston played the Hebrew Moses. Al Pacino played Puerto Ricans. Mickey Rooney played Asian characters, so why can’t Johnny Depp is play Tonto, a Native American, in the The Lone Ranger movie. As a nation you would think that we have made strides to get past this, but sadly we haven’t. An Asian guy can’t be an Avenger or else the film might lose viewership…

The next time you go grocery shopping look at the covers of America’s most popular magazine and you will see the constant reminders that Americans just won’t pay to see minorities on stage or in print. In fact those magazine almost pornographic in have they usually have almost nude women on the covers. The should be displayed in the back of the store and not in the front so all of the children and be brainwashed.

I would like to say that this is a time in America where blacks don’t have to be represented as aliens, mutants, comedic relief or sports personalities. I would like to say that putting minorities, that represent America, on the cover of a magazine that everyone buys won’t decrease your sales. I would like to say that these entertainment leaders are not pushing an ideal, but I can’t say it and neither can you, see how Donald Trump has been able to stroke the latent racial fires within people. This racial agenda is not unexpected from an industry that has Mel Gibson as one of its top stars, but at least Mel Gibson was being honest. If Mel Gibson were a Black Man his arse would have already been facing charges, ask Chris Brown.

When America has a Lebanese-American Miss America, in the age of President Obama and Will Smith is Hollywood’s biggest actor, it is surprising that white-washing is still prevalent, yet it seems that looking the other way is even more prevalent. In many ways Hollywood’s practice of white-washing is actually an acknowledgment of America’s deep racial disturbance. Black actresses who passed used to get movies roles, but now even they wont get a staring movie role unless they are White-Acceptable. Strong Black male roles in Hollywood have been defacto outlawed. Black Men can’t seem to star in Hollywood unless they have been willing to cross-dressing, ask Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, Vinh Rhames, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart and others.

When black males don dresses it isn’t for an artistic award winning role like Mrs. Doubtfire, apparently it is hysterical when black men dress up like women, it shows the dominate culture you are willing to do anything they ask of you… Thanks Dave Chappelle for not having a price. It may come as a shock but Black Men want to be portrayed as men. If you want to work in Hollywood, of course you have to help with the brain washing agenda, so if  the script says that you wear a dress, then you wear a dress and who wrote the script?

Hollywood must have commissioned some studies or reports that said, if they want the masses to spend their money on a product, most of the characters must be white, why else would they do it? Going to Middle Earth, you must be white. Visiting far off planets, oh we need a white representative for that. A story about Mongols, just drop a white guy in the middle of it.

Perhaps because people of color can’t see themselves being bested by a brainless zombie that can’t run, jump or hide, maybe they don’t see themselves being hacked to death by a slow walking madman in the woods, or swimming a river full of piranhas, or doing any number of stupid things that white actors get paid to do to build movie tension. Maybe they figure that the whites wont accept white actors being told what to do by Black ones. Perhaps, there is an unwritten industry rule that has cap on the amount of minorities you can have on stage, screen, on a magazine cover.

In 2016, Dawn of Justice, which is really Man of Steel II, Laurence Fishburne stars and was given six minutes of screen time only so their wouldn’t be any flack. Just one in Black person and they are usually comic relief or backing up a White star.

Face it, White America will never get over their racial fixation, they just won’t let it go. Right down to Jim Sturgess portraying Hae-Joo Chang in “Cloud Atlas” in prosthetics and yellow face no less. These things are not mere slights they are conscious acts, scripts have been stolen from Blacks (see The Matrix, Terminator) and Blacks have been written of out of roles to be replaced by whites. When you interview the directors they always say “I don’t know if it is a stereotype”, “It was done in fun” or “I have a good relationship with the Blacks”.

This is precisely the kind of attitude that makes people celebrate racially coded actions, and place human racial issues on non-humans, it’s just easier to deal with that way. In Hollywood, minorities can’t be Vampires, Wizards or fight Dragons. It is Hollywood that tells us that Black people can not hip-hop dance and act at the same time, as if there is any kind of acting in those high school musical, prom, bridesmaid or dance films.

Hollywood is a White Industry, it has always had an agenda or two and white-washing is something that the upcoming movie The Expendables seeks to capitalize on in a big way. The Expendables is a movie filled with once premiere names in the ass-kicking, action hero genre (1 Asian, 1 Black, 1 Woman, 2 Hispanics and 57 Whites), which is odd because the movies mostly takes place in South America.

The director of the Expendable films, Sylvester Stallone, throws us a racial bones as he picked Terry Crews for the black action hero role. I like Terry Crews, but he has never been an action hero, unless he is saving you from sweat and odor as he does in his Old Spice commercials. I am sure that he was selected  because of his new sit-com, Are We There Yet? Of course, the logical choice would be Michael Jai White or even Wesley Snipes, since the theme is once popular action heroes. This decision was obviously based on money and popularity, which is somewhat understandable. However, Hollywood’s sexism and racism is baseless.

According to George Lucas it took 23 years of writing and rewriting to get the movie “Red Tails” made. He said that Hollywood wouldn’t make it because it wasn’t green. “It didn’t have a major white protagonist role. I made this movie so that teenage boys would have heroes.” The latter part of the Lucas’ statement was telling in that it appears that black producers no longer have the guts to bring real black hero movies to Hollywood, or to make real relevant honest movies, due the they years of being told those movies aren’t green enough. The studios consider a 20 million dollar investment, in a movie about the legendary Tuskegee  Airmen, real American heroes to be a risky investment. The first all black action movie, you’d never figure that Star War’s George Lucas would bring it to the forefront. Was is also funny is that if the movie doesn’t financially overwhelm, movie studios will be even less likely to green light movies by Black filmmakers for Black audiences.

Straight Outta Compton

Even a good film like Straight outta Compton, The NWA rap group’s bio-picture which did well at the domestic box office was not pushed overseas. Hollywood let this film languish overseas as if only North Americans are influence by hip-hop and hip-hop culture. This limited the total for the film, why was this done? As the leaked Sony emails say Hollywood feels that “Black issues and stars don’t translate well overseas”. Is that so, or maybe you don’t want them to translate well…

Who is covered up?

(Just shut up and be glad they are doing a black superhero film…geez)

Captain-America-Civil-War-EW-Cover

“Meow”…is this what a super powerful leader of a nation would say?

On a side note Michael Jai White has been getting the shaft for years. Hollywood has opted to half train, spend millions on CGI, and hire new white male action heroes, when Michael White holds seven black belts, yet he somehow he never gets that big action flick, and it’s a damn shame too ’cause Michael Jai White kicks much butt.

There are plenty of Latino and Black actors, not to mention women that can play any of these roles a white actor is given. Is Hollywood right on, or is just giving the American public the races they crave? If you put too many non-whites on the cover of anything the masses will walk by it thinking “That’s not for me”.  That’s why there is no black Jesus, Moses, Noah, superman, spider man, batman or any other heroic man with a following. I am frankly surprised that they haven’t had Cliff Curtis playing  an Asian, Middle Eastern and a Latino all in the same film. Michael Peña is finally getting some long overdo shine.

For some reason those in entertainment believe that the public must be coddled and greased up into accepting dark heroes and heroines. If you look at 1998’s “Blade” grossed 131 million on a 40 million dollar budget. The film starred Wesley Snipes as a kick ass superhero vampire hunter. Blade proved to Marvel and Hollywood that big budget comic book superhero films were indeed viable productions. Of course Wesley couldn’t be the front man for X-Men and Avenger blockbusters, he was timely jailed and forgotten for killing whites on film with a smile.

Wesley made Marvel's the Avengers possible

Shortly after Blade, enter 2002’s blockbuster Spider and the billion dollar grossing Marvels’ The Avengers in 2012. Of course people will say they are unrelated, because they don’t want to address it, but it is there.  Some would even argue that point, but those are the same people who went shopping this week and saw dozens of magazines filled with half naked whites on the cover in front of dozen of minority eyes. These are the same people who wouldn’t take their child to see The Frog Princess, but affectionately and proudly speak of seeing Cinderella,  Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. You know who those people are. They are the ones who talk about bank ability or marketability or an actor knowing full well that it is just another code word because the explanation is not politically correct. They are the same people that would argue that “Minority” movies don’t make as much as non-minority movies, well actually that is correct, because they actually more profitable.

She's non-white alright

People love Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games, who according to the book is described as ‘non-white, with dark, olive skin’…go figure.

Hunger Games was a big hit; people who read the books and fell in love with and cared about the characters were disappointed in the movie. Why? Even though the book described Rue as a black character, readers created an image of that character in their minds, they created an image they could connect with an image they could love. So when fans of the book saw a black face on screen…they threw up in their collective mouths. There are people who will argue about the authenticity of a movie’s story-line or character. But if you have seen these movies you know that it has nothing to do with acting. Hollywood has and can make the least talented person a house hold name.

If we are all equal why does Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Thor and similar heroes have to look or be white? I guess not many black actors want to play impotent superheroes these days. Look at how many reiterations of Batman there have, and he’s not a super hero and he’s impotent, but he embodies white fantasies, you he will stay on the big screen.

For now only whites be pirate captains?…hmmm don’t tell the Somali’s that. Look at the half-Ethiopian character of Nora in “Warm Bodies”, played by the very white Analeigh Tipton or Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, in the Academy Award Winning “Argo”.  Very soon a white director or white producer will soften their racial heart and put a minority in a traditional white role like James Bond or something remotely popular, it will be applauded and hailed as ground breaking. Whenever that day comes will it undo the hundred or so years of generational racial conditioning?

You will are bombarded with a mix of sexism, archetypes, internalized stereotypes, negative racial feelings and misplaced empathy whenever you enter a movie theater. Any American, except for Ron Paul, will say that they are against discrimination. However, most people are unaware that subconsciously everything they watch and spend money on has everything to do with race and in many cases enables racial bias. Racial biases can transferred through screens both small and large, from hearts and mind, words and actions and right into our children. You believe in equality, but somehow you prefer one race over another… where did you get that from? Post-Racial…not a chance, “White-Acceptance” more likely. Hollywood, The Media and magazines have been feeding the masses a steady and constant diet of “White-Acceptable” people from Vin Diesel, Rosario DawsonMaya RudolphDwayne Johnson, Jessica AlbaDrake, Nicki Minaj, Thandie Newton, Soledad O’Brein, Rihanna, Rashida Jones, Zoe Saldana, Amy Holmes and others, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin poised to be the new face of the NBA.

Unapologetically Black

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

They take time period pieces like say the huge Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, where there are no blacks, so they can’t be captains. The closest that series has come to even using the term black is when they say “Black Light’ and “Black Beard”, this series does uses Soldana in a small out of place role. Middle Earth, Hogwarts and all of the forest towns  that crawl with vampires are devoid of minorities; even in the imaginary and alternative universes.

I am not advocating the boycott of any film like the God of Egypt, because even if the studio losses money… it’s still a write off, why do you think hey aren’t concerned with making a better product. It’s not enough to make a Facebook page on the subject because the brain-washing is so constantly ubiquitous.

America needs to talk about how the media and entertainment has warped and distorted what beauty is, but instead of talking about it we have swept this shift to White-Acceptability under the rug .

The conversation is deep and long, so I am pretty sure that Americans wont have the stomach to discuss it.  Instead of Hollywood focusing on internal frames, story lines and jump cuts it chooses to engage in these racebending practices to profit off of internalized racial biases, and perhaps that is the real Hollywood Shuffle.

If you really want your money’s worth from a book click here

Side Note: The Karate Kid (starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan) debuts at #1 with 58 Million. This 58 Million dollar number is of note for several reasons. For a non 3 day weekend the 58 Million for The Karate Kid sets the record for the highest grossing opening box office total for a minority movie  in history. However, half of the usual sites that report box office totals by 2pm on Sunday didn’t report it. Maybe it has something to do with the stars of the film, if it doesn’t I hope someone can tell me why this this “unusual” occurrence in box office reporting happened? Yahoo put up the box office report 5 hours later than normal and it was right after the Lakers/Celtics game…
Movies with a mixed cast like “Fast Five”,’ Fast Six” are beginning to change the game for movie goers. It this trend picks up and continues, a slightly color stuck society may be on the horizon.

Yes this is an unusual take off on Rihanna’s song Rude Boy. Why you might ask. Well her song, which is very good, posed an interesting question “Rude Boy is you big enough?”  Ri-Ri’s Rude Boy is not just another dance hall, reggae, R&B  bass  pounding pop song about just sex. Rihanna belts out some very assertive lines of healthy consensual sex, yet and still some have been critical of the song as being too raunchy. I guess when Rihanna sings lyrics like  “Touch me there… Pull my hair… Kiss it there… Move it there…” perhaps her critics should have first asked “Too Raunchy for who?”

Rude Boy” clearly does show the confusion that presently exist in our society between Making Love, Having Sex and the need to be Loved “Take it, Take it, Love me, Love me“. Yes, several men have pointed me to the part of the video where she is just really workin’ it, but that’s what I mean by confusion.  My new book It Ain’t Just The Size main story arc is a love story that follows Lance and Princess as they find their way to love, this sounds simple enough until friends, family members and a gun complicate matters. “It Ain’t Just The Size” and “Rude Boy” are both calls for honest communication between men and women. “It Ain’t Just The Size” was conceived to give the reader more… More Hip-Hop, More Pop-Culture, More Music, More Social Commentary, More Poetry,  More Humor, More Love, More Solutions, More Inspiration, More for your dollar and who doesn’t want more?

It Ain’t Just The Size was compiled from hundreds of honest conversations with hundred of people, which were molded into a compelling story. You will undoubtedly hear and see phrases applied to this book that have never accompanied a book before and like Rihanna I too have my critics. There have been those that say “it’s too real”, “it’s too funny” or “it doesn’t fit in any category”. It Ain’t Just The Size has been called “One of the most Powerful book I’ve ever read“, “Amazing”, “Entertaining”, “Controversial” and “A Great Book” as it is  filled with  thought and drama.  The real question is, are you big enough to join the conversations?

While Rihanna does what American Entertainment demands of it’s young artist, which is to brand and market themselves, a dutch magazine saw fit to refer to her as “De Niggabitch”. Rihanna’s response “I hope you can read english, because your magazine is a poor representation of the evolution of human rights! I find you disrespectful, and rather desperate!! You ran out of legit, civilized information to print! There are 1000’s of Dutch girls who would love to be recognized for their contributions to your country, you could have given them that article. Instead, you paid to print one degrading an entire race! That’s your contribution to this world! To encourage segregation, to mislead the future leaders to act in the past! You put two words together, with the intent of abasement, that made no sense…”NIGGA BITCH”?!….Well with all due respect, on behalf of my race, I have put two words together for you…FUCK YOU!!!”

Blacks and particularly Black Women have endured more than their share of coded negatively in the name of popular culture and entertainment. They have primarily been viewed as mammies, oversexed, violent, whores, acid-tongue, loud-mouths, and lazy welfare mothers in disproportionately higher numbers than other races, although coded. The complaints have been many but those in the military-industrial media are profiting by presenting Black women as disregarded hyper-sexual female stereotypes, so much so that media outlets can called black women, NiggaBitches without so much as a second thought.

The resulting social media pressure for Jackie magazine caused this response from the editor. “Because of the enormous pressure from social media, I can promise improvement in terms of language used in future issues of Jackie. Previously, I offered rectification. As I now come to the conclusion that rectification is not the right solution, I am departing. The term ‘nigga bitch” come over from America and we have only this to describe this particular style of clothes that we can try to interpret. After eight years, with my heart and soul, I have worked for Jackie. I realize that these errors – although no malicious intent – is a reason to leave.”

And with that closed quote the controversy is over, until the next time.