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.

I have always been a big fan of Erykah Badu. She has in many ways shown the triumph of the uncompromising black female artist. At times she, through her music, has gotten personal, emotional, philosophical, and I love the way she is not afraid to show that she is political. Often, through her level consciousness, she has had the ability to bridge the gender and age gap and have everyone singing her catchy songs. She is unique from her organic sound to her style of dress both of which show her constant groove. Badu’s latest album ‘New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) has recently come out. I am sure that this album will be more of what we have come to expect from Erykah Badu, not over processed, personal, ambient even soulful, but the album is not what this article is about.

This article is about the video “Window Seat” Badu’s new video for her first single. If you haven’t seen it, basically Erykah Badu walks down a Texas street and strips buck naked in front of everybody and lies down near where JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

This is a powerful video that does with actions that her previous videos did with words and color and it stands in stark contrast to them and most videos out there. Now there will be many who won’t see the point of the video. And I won’t give you the point either, because it obviously wasn’t for you. And I appreciate the point and thusly salute Erykah for making it and I must say that Erykah has an amazing backside, but I digress.

Books that are changing everything

Is this really what entertainment has come to? Taking off all of your clothes just to make a point?

Dressing like a cartoon character to be heard?

Making yourself a pop-culture gender bender to become popular?

The answer sadly is yes. With the death of MTV entertainers have been getting more and more outrageous in this say or do anything business and all of it is about as real as a three dollar bill.

Did Erykah have a valid point to make? Could that point have been made without bearing it all in public? Is this really artist integrity? or a calculated risk over reward scenario?

Those are the same questions I asked when I saw a naked Serena Williams on the cover of last year’s ESPN Magazine, especially when I looked through the magazine and found no naked men, not that I was looking for naked men mind you.

Did either of these ladies have to go that far, probably not, but if they hadn’t we wouldn’t be talking about them right now. Let’s be real here, the “mainstream” is not checking for Badu. They are only interested in women of color when there is some kind of controversy. It does speaks volumes that a woman has to take off her clothes to be a viable artist these days and a man has to put on his to be successful. Personally I like Erykah’s counter culture attitude, but it isn’t cutting edge for her to go on television shows with her hair half-done.

How do a real artists compete with these manufactured pop-culture products? How do real musicians stand out in a time-period where the mediocre can go quadruple platinum? The answer isn’t an easy one, but it does depend on where we get our music from and whether the masses really wants to hear real music from real people, or packaged music from created products.  Two weeks ago I recently attended a small event in Long Beach of less than 50 people and the music I was given the privileged to hear there was better than all of the concerts I have been to. It was free, but I would have paid for the experience, you see where I am going with this.

Shocking videos, outrageous dress, and nakedness are not new to the industry, whether it was Elton John with his flamboyance, Prince and his innuendo, D’Angelo and Madonna with their boldness and others who were considered cutting edge with these types of statements. Not only were they out there, most of the time they were out there alone. Those artist never felt that they had to do something that wasn’t them to compete, or more shocking than what someone else did, they weren’t in the same market, but today’s markets are blended. Today we have a country star who isn’t from the country, Rappers rapping country, pop kids rapping, rappers on pop songs, R & B songs that are pop, and the blends go on and on. It is both a testament to the national oblivion and sort of  funny when you hear someone say that they don’t like rap, but the songs they listen to are actually rap.

These industries will feed us this type of empty fair until, or if we get fed up and complain loud enough and just like the media is moving the public from Health Care to Jobs, and Immigration the music industry will create something else for The Mob to follow. Did Erykah Badu have to go to such length to be heard, well we are talking about her now aren’t we? One thing is certain, it is no longer about the music and as long as the public continues to celebrate idiocy, promiscuity, those who will say whatever, do whatever, or those take off their clothes and pass it off as a form of expression I dare say that we should expect no less than the same kind of behavior from our citizenry, so Pack Light.