I can’t even explain it, women make fun of other women all the time. They nit-pick, tear down and

just search for something not to like. Some of them are down right messy sometimes. We are

supposed to work together , not nurturing hate. That’s why I feel more comfortable around men. I

had enough of people  distorting my relationships.

I remember being chased home from school being made fun of because of my clothes or my hair.

So you turn to the church, but they preach that you aren’t worthy.

Your friends tell you that you aren’t worthy.

At home you hear that you’re not worth.

The television shows you as not worthy.

The man you picked says that you’re not worthy.

Celebrate yourself, love yourself, own your worth.

You hate on others when you see them changing their world

and you can’t change yours…

and that’s the bottom line.

 

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Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give the people who moved and inspired us recognition. These artist have made us feel, think and move. Many have shown us that it is okay to be human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps these artist will be rediscovered by some or seen in a new way by others.  We have grown up with R & B, we have watched it blend soul and jazz elements, we have seen it nod heads with hip hop grooves and dance with pop beats. I have created this list not based solely on sales, emotions, but more so on impact. Having one hit may not help, while dropping a classic album does. These women, these artist had guts, creativity and range. They did not allow music to power the song while they fell back, they were the songs and without them Rhythm & Blues would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, here is part 2 of my All-Time list.

 

6. Mary J. Blige

What’s the 411 defined  what a debut albums should be, garnering nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards. Blige has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She has received the World Music Legends Award. Her debut album “What’s the 411”  combined her tough girl personal, street wise lyrics, soulful voice with jagged hip hop beats, it was underappreciated at the time, but remains Soul’s first exploration into Hip Hop. Not many certified soul singers have been able to keep up with pop-culture, Mary J. has and inspired thousands of copycat vocalist in the process.

7. Anita Baker

She has eight Grammy Awards. Anita can not only connect with an audience like no other, but she can out sing just about everyone on this list.  She helped define urban contemporary music “Quite Storm”, with sophisticated, tradition-oriented soul and R & B. Her music has always been filled with thought, jazz and sadness. Anita Baker’s songs “Sweet Love”, “You bring me joy”, “Giving you the best that I got” and “Good Love” are songs that will live forever.

8. Beyonce (“B”, Sasha Fierce)

 

The hardest working singer on the list and it shows in her music and her videos. Beyonce’s debut solo album “Dangerously in Love” in 2003, spawned the number one hits “Baby Boy and “Crazy in Love” and became one of the most successful albums of that year, earning her five Grammy Awards.  She is one of the most honored artists by the Grammys with a total of 16 Grammy Awards Beyonce’s music is always anthem filled to perfection. She is one of the most downloaded and imitated R & B artist today. With each albums she offers something new whether she is mixing pop and funk, singing ballads or introducing us to alternative personalities, Beyonce has done it all.

9. Mariah Carey (Butterfly, Mimi, MC)

She is often thought to be too pop, but Mariah has sold more than 200 million albums. Mariah has always offered diversely soul ballads and collaborations with R&B and rap heavyweights. She is a mix between Whitney Houston and Celien Dion and thus she bridges the gap from soulful ballad to hip-hop to pop.  However, unlike Celine and Houston, Mariah writes and produces her own songs.  With a uncomparable 5 octave vocal range and a willingness to often tackle social theme Carey displays guts to go along with her talent. Her songs often display a playful mastery of high range vocal ability, which often puts Mariah is in a category few can achieve

10. Alicia Keys

 

Her music has been uncompromising, as she is distinctively respected. Her debut album, “Songs in A Minor” sold over 12 million copies. She was the best-selling new artist of 2001 He debut album earned her five Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Best New Artist of 2002. He second album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys”, sold eight million copies, and gained her four more Grammy Awards. The accomplished pianist incorporates classical piano into almost every track. Her songs of female empowerment, triumph, heartbreak and love are felt worldwide. Passionate, raw and strong her voice and talent are not to be denied.

R & B Singers of note: Tina Marie, Janet Jackson, Ashanti, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Sade, Chrisette Michelle

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Part 1

Dear Nicki Minaj:

I’m supposed to be mad at you.  Because of the whole Barbie thing.  I don’t know if you know this, but Ruth Handler created Barbie for Mattel about 50 years ago. She was based on Lily, a blond European comic strip character with, shall we say, loose morals.  As a doll, Barbie prostituted herself for the multiple outfits, shoes, cars, houses and other accessories that parents would buy for their daughters.

A woman who compares herself to Barbie is a woman who desires to be purchased.  A black woman who compares herself to Barbie is celebrating white standards of beauty in order to be bought.  It’s objectifying, it supports patriarchy, it’s reminiscent of slavery, it’s problematic, and it’s working for you, ma.

Maybe it’s because no one can make the rumors about you hooking up with Weezy and Drake to get signed actually stick.  Maybe it’s because your glam is hotter than anything designed for Barbie. Maybe it’s because even in your blond wigs, you look black unlike Barbie’s first black friend, Christie. Maybe it’s because you got ass Barbie can only dream of.  Maybe it’s because this Barbie business is your business.

Times are hard. The black unemployment rate is 16%. One in seven Americans live in poverty. Gainful employment that pays a living wage is hard to find. You found it by being a Barbie. Congratulations.  The more complex the package, the more there is to talk about, and people are talking about you, Nicki.  We’ve been checking for your album over a year before it dropped.

Today, November 22, 2010, is your holiday.  You’ve got a lipstick collabo with MAC, a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer .organization, a MTV documentary titled My Time Now, the Pink Friday album, and a pending tour.  You are packaging yourself to be sold because that’s how the game is played.  Men sell themselves all the time. When they’re successful we call them Donald Trump. When women do it, we call them dolls, puppets, pawns.  You’re doing it right, but you’re wrong about one thing. Your time isn’t now.  Your time is in the future. This is the beginning.

Turn hip pop on it’s head. Teach black girls how to be entrepreneurs—how to self promote guerilla style. Share as much as you feel comfortable about your childhood, your immigration, the domestic violence between your parents, your sexuality, your life in the industry with all those boys, and your round-the-way-girl attempts to figure these men out.  How do they do that shit?

Barbie is your business. I understand that. Lil Kim understands that too, and that’s why she’s challenging you. I know you didn’t name any names in “Roman’s Revenge.”  It has some clever lines, but Roman and Shady both hate women so I can’t give you any props on that.  Just don’t go starting any mess. Your Sucka Free cover is Kim. She’s your godmother in the game even if she’s not acting like it. Think of giving everyone who comes at you, an opportunity to eat too. Savvy women parlay hateration into product that profits the major player and all the people on her team.

I listened to your interviews, I heard you rhyme, I read about that 360 deal. I know that your time is coming. What’s next? Your own label, your own school for girls, your own non-profit? I know you can do it, Nicki. The question is will you? I’ll only be mad if you stay a Barbie.

P.S.

By the way Lil Kim’s Pink Friday Mixtape is something you don’t want to mess with, really.

Just don’t pose in any more plastic boxes, okay?

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Dr. Ebony Utley

The Woman with Ideas

theutleyexperience.com

Ebony A. Utley, Ph.D. is an expert in hip hop, race, and love relationships. Her forthcoming book, The Gangsta’s God: The Quest for Respectability in Hip Hop (Praeger, forthcoming), blends rap, religion, and urban African American history to reveal how a God-sanctioned gangsta identity empowers young black people facing declining economic opportunities.

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