Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Lost Art of Fist Fighting

I say bring back the fist fight! In this day and age with all the violence on TV, in the movies, rap records, and the newspapers it seems everybody has a gun. People just aint slappin people like they used to. I wish I could find the first raggedy nigga who brought a gun to a fist fight. I'd wait until he put that gun down and sneak up on his ass and slap the shit outta him! Just for fuckin up the world's knuckle game! when I say fist fight, I mean a good old fashioned fair one. None of that jumpin shit! And I'm not advocating a fight at all times. Fist fighting should never be used to settle an argument when the right answer can be proven to no dispute. If you say the capital of India is Mumbai and I say New Dehli, all we gotta do is look the shit up on wikipedia to solve that one. Aint no need to bust nobody's head over no shit like that.Fist figting should be reserved for ethical disputes over man/woman law! Because depending on which man or woman raised you, your code of ethics might be vastly different then mine.

After all, let's not forget, fighting is a form of communication. One that was acceptable at some point in societies around the world. Animals have the right idea when it comes to this jack! Ever see 2 rams in a dispute? Let one ram stand too close to another ram,"Say blood, you standing too close to me" "Well look here Jack, that's really too bad cuz this here is where i'm standing" "Says who? "Sheeeit says me!" "Well who died and made you HNIC?" "Well aint nobody died yet, but if you keep jaw jackin you can call me a genie cuz your wish will be my command sucka!" "well don't talk about it, be about it!" "you aint said nuthin but a word! let's get it on!" BAM!!! BAM!! BAM!!!! And the ram who's still standing is the one who's right.

Let's say your out with your homie at Tillmans or some shit, right? Now you done settled up next to something real sweet, somebody really worth looking at like the chick from Slumdog Millionaire or something {cut to me saying "mmm" with the stank face}. Now you buying her drinks and kickin some real fly shit in her ear and she's diggin it. When suddenly nature calls, I mean that kinda shit's gonna happen when you drinkin and whatnot. So you excuse yourself. You tell her you gotta take the Browns to the Superbowl or some smooth shit like that. That's when your man decides he's gonna slide in and keep your seat warm. Now she's tipsy (thanks to you) and tahee hee'n and shit. This fool's a regular Richard Pryor after all them damn apple martini's you bought her. Us good lookin dudes, we travel in packs. It's a rule. It's written in the fine nigga's handbook. We all get one after puberty if you make the cut. So your boy probably aint no funny lookin' dude, unless you are then it really doesn't matter anyway because chances are both of you were going home alone with your dick in your hands! Talkin about the chick you "almost" got. So now, your pretty boy friend has swooped in and gotten the girl's number and set up a rendezvous for a later date while you were fighting to get to the bathroom so you can take a wiz! So how do you confront your homie? Your man law states that you were the first to make contact, so you should have the first option to closing the deal. But he tells you his man law is more in line with Iceberg slim "Your chick chose me!" Both are valid arguments. I mean you did warm up the slots so this man could come in right behind you and hit the jackpot. But, like he said "Your chick chose him!"

So now you've reached a stalemate. It's become more than obvious that you aint coming to any sort of amicable agreement on the subject. So now what? Nothing left to do but fight! I mean you can set the rules: 3 minute maximum, no poking each other in the eyes, no sand, shit like that. but bottm line is, somebody's ass has got to get kicked! Whomever's foot does the most connecting with ass is the winner! he gets the number and shows up to the date and hopes for the best. After all, you guys are friends. What's a little fisticuffs between fellas? You'll bounce back. And best of all, you won't have to stop speaking over it or some chump shit like that. That's why I say knuckle up my friends! it's what a gentleman would do!

Monday, January 12, 2009


When my good peoples at Double 7 asked me to write about my experiences in Hollywood on a weekly basis, my first thought was "I live in NY! I'm not Hollywood." Then it dawned on me,I spend a great deal of my time on airplanes, taking meetings, auditioning, and sipping Henny's and coke poolside at The Standard hotel while sneaking peeks at the young ladies in bikini's. To the average cat that sounds like some real Hollywood living, kinda...I mean almost. I have a "team" that consists of high powered agents, managers (both business and personal), a cool publicist, attorney, and a celebrity liason on both coasts who makes sure I'm taken care of at all the cool restaurants and clubs. I've been stopped by tourists before for the quick photo op and even signed an occasional autograph (usually say something cool like "one luv" or "God Bless" ). But then there was that time when I had a big "celebrity Birthday party" thrown in my honor at a Manhattan hotspot and the chick at the door almost made me and my friends stand in line while she let Jessicca Simpson in (whom I've still NEVER met), that wasn't too cool. And most times when someone does send a limo to come pick me up my name is spelled wrong on the placard in the window. Not really household name stuff. Oh, and then there was the dinner party last week where the mouthy light skinned chick form Jamaica asked me what other job I had to "sustain my acting thing"...huh? You wouldn't ask a full scale Hollywood cat that would you? I guess one could say I'm almost Hollywood, more on the outskirts of fame than actually famous. That's cool I guess. There's money in that, not to mention the occassional groupie (as long as I get to her before Constantine from American Idol).

No Hollywood star, full blown or almost, is complete without the flashing lights and general carrying ons of the pushy paparazzi. After all, if they didn't snap your shot, where you really there? Being on the outskirts, I'm usually only photographed when with my truly famous friends or completely unexpected places like the grocery store in the valley or jail (looooong story). But whenever I'm going to a major event and don't want to worry about whether or not my presence was documented, I bring along my own personal Mamarazzi©. The mamarazzi© consists of my mom and my auntie Vickie armed with winning smiles, disposable cameras, and no shame in stealing pics with any and all celebrities big and small. Of course they're not card carrying memebers of the paparazzi and usually like to be in the photos themselves, but they do manage to catch the coveted shot of Sam Jackson waiting on his limo to pull up or Lucy Liu having a laugh as she exits the ladies room.

Much like the paparazzi, the mamarazzi© sets out their plan of action well before they arrive at the event. They make sure they are equipped with enough cameras and usually take a small power nap in preparation of the big night. Unlike their competition, they have the luxury of arriving with their very own invites and often times in the limo with me. This gives them a leg up on those ususally annoying shot seekers because they can and do use the fact that their son/nephew is in the movie which softens their subjects up a bit. My mom, smartly, uses the time before the lights go down at a premiere or opening to scan the audience for celebs that she plans on getting shots of at the afterparty. If she doesn't exactly know what they do or their names, she'll do her research which usually consists of asking me or anyone around who the subject is and then expertly jotting it down for future use. Not afraid of pushing or shoving to get the right shot, the mamarazzi© can be aggressive and sometimes downright pushy! But just as said subject is about to reach their brink of patience the mamarazzi© charmingly smiles and gushes about how proud they are of their son/nephew and immediately the person melts as they are reminded of their own family. My mom and aunt's penchant for taking pictures of everything used to annoy me to no end as a child and quite honestly those habbits sometimes still drive me a bit batty. But nothing can take away the pride I feel when my family shows off the fruits of their labor at gatherings and my mom brags about the fact that she is on a first name basis with Bruce Willis. Even as I eventually plant both feet in Hollywood and will no longer be considered "Almost Hollywood" but rather at the forefront of it, my family will always be around to remind me that these moments are to be cherished and most importantly documented. Long live the mamarazzi©! If you don't have one to follow you around, I'm sure I can lend you mine for the right invite.

A Token for the Token Black Guy.

"Sometimes just making yourself at home is revolutionary" - Slumberland by, Paul Beatty

It was recently brought to my attention that often times I am the lone black character in the projects I do. Watching my demo reel with a director who jokingly asked "which one are you in this scene?" made it clear to me: I have become a token black guy! That explains why, on a recent trip back from LA, Sean Patrick Thomas and Donald Faison showed me so much love in the first class lounge at LAX! I thought their greetings of "Dude, wassup?" while jabbing their Stellas in the air was because we were some of the only brothas under 40 in the first class lounge. But now I realize it was because we are some of the only Negroes in the first class lounge in Hollywood also known as mainstream projects. How the hell did I end up here? I don't even drink Stellas. I drink Henny (double shot neat if you're asking, sidecar if you're sexy). And if you ever hear me refer to some cat as "dude" send help immediately, because I've been kidnapped by the A.A.N. (Association for Assimilating Negroes) and they've threatened to lock me in a room and make me watch Rugby and reruns of the "Wayne Brady Show" if I didn't incorporate the word into my everyday decidedly hood vernacular. I mean yeah I went to a predominantly white private school in Westfield, NJ during my formative years, but my family still does the "bus stop" unprovoked, music or no, at every family gathering. Ok, ok, I did play soccer my whole life (before my man Freddy Adu), but my Dad's from the Bahamas, it's what they do! Why is white America so comfortable with such an non-assimilated black man? My guess is because I'm comfortable with myself and therefore am at home in all settings. I've also been blessed with opprtunities that have allowed me to be exposed to many different walks of life without being forced to take any particular one on fully as my own. No "powdered sugar black guy" business over here. That just wasn't my upbringing.

Comfort is a huge issue in the black middle class. We're comfortable with Barack, but squirm in our seats at the thought of Jerimiah Wright opening his mouth and making public the dinning room table conversations that we've had for years. I, for one, personally hope Barack has a BBQ on the front lawn of the White House to celebrate his presidency. It is time for a change. Time for the black middle class to stop trying to assimilate and just be whomever you are. Whether you like BBQ or Sushi, malt Liquor or a single malt scotch, own it and move on. Hollywood, often times a reflection of white America as a whole, responds to those who are comfortable in their own skin and able to bring that to the table. Don't get me wrong, the fact that the decision makers need to feel "comfortable" with your life's experience isn't lost on me. Flavor Flav is a man who is very comfortable in his skin but I doubt mainstream Hollywood is comfortable enough with his life experiences to invite him to drink Stellas and watch the Lakers with the family. But he doesn't care! And I love him for that.

Flav doesn't represent the black middle class. He reps for the lower class who is crystal clear on how they are viewed by mainstream America and, most importantly, by themselves. They, unlike middle class blacks, do not harbor dreams of one day fitting in with white America. I've even had friends explain to me that they don't partake in certain activities because "that's some white people shit." Although a crude and arguably ignorant statement, it speaks to how clear they are about what they like and how they are viewed. Flavor Flav speaks to and sometimes for them. He is accepted in some form by the mainstream largely due to this fact. Not because he's a Coon (as he's often times called in my middle class circle of friends), but because he's himself. My more "user friendly" counterparts in the Token Black Guy club are also very comfortable with themselves and their experiences. Granted theirs were probably a lot less "hood" than mine and therefore make mainstream Hollywood very comfortable with them, but they are true to their personal experiences and should be applauded in the same way I applaud our ebony courtroom jester turned love guru . Many are not trying to be "white", but rather their experience in life is one that may be more in line with that of a white person in America. We as black folk can't afford to spend another minute on worrying about how a largely uninterested white America views us. If it doesn't directly effect their lives, they DO NOT CARE. When Michelle Obama was referred to as Barack's "Baby momma" on CNN I think it was made very clear that in white mainstream America, the only difference they see between Barack Obama and 50 Cent is a suit. It is merely our responsibility as artists to bring our unique experiences to our work. One cannot aspire to be a token black dude, your feeble attempts will only be exposed similarly to Master P on "Dancing With the Stars". Makes no sense, it's an obvious cry for attention from an unimpressed audience. Flavor Flav isn't trying to be outrageous, he just is. Donald Faison isn't trying to fit in with white folk...he just does. And both are otay with me (sorry couldn't resist the homage to one of our finest coons to ever grace the screen). Sometimes the best thing one can do to combat a stereotype is just be oneself. Kick back with your malt liquor in one hand and fried chicken in the other, and turn up the gangsta rap if that's what makes you feel at home because that's revolutionary in this day and age. The revolution will be televised and chances are I'll be the token black guy.

Tabloids and the White Man's Burden

Oh the the holidays! Time well spent getting fat off of momma's cooking, drankin' with the drunk uncles, catching up with old neighborhood friends, and ,making New Years resolutions. New Years resolutions are always a lot of pressure. Who wants to think about the things you feel you came up short on this year, or even worse straight up failed at? But a funny thing happened to me this season. I realized that I had achieved so many of my resolutions from the year before that I decided to add a vice, therefor I can have something to kick by the end of 2009. I considered possibilities: sexaholic (too cliche plus, what is too much sex..really?), shopaholic (too lazy to be up in somebody's store for hours and not collecting a check), drugs (man I'm 30 plus! What the hell do I look like starting a drug habit now? That's just childish)! Tabloids? Bong, there it is! I'm always so out of the loop whenever caught in a conversation about the latest celebrity gossip. Not in 2009 jack! From now on I will be able to tell you in what restaurant Paris slapped the taste out of lilo's mouth (a real tabloid reader refers to the celebs by first name or nickname if you're a real fan).

The first thing I did was check out the various gossip sites to bone up on my celebs and their shenanigans. It's crazy the stuff that's considered newsworthy. I swear I saw 5 pictures of Jerry O'Connell eating! Eating salad actually! OK, maybe I'm not up on why that's a big deal. Well, dude was the fat kid from "Stand By Me", so perhaps it's a celebration of the positive effects of a healthy diet. He's in pretty good shape these days. I can dig that. There's a lot of talk about Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Angelina Jolie. Jealousy, deceit, infidelity uuuhmm about 4 or 5 freaking years ago! They have been divorced for years. I'm so confused. I also found a lot of little tidbits about the kids from "High school Musical" and "Twilight". Boy those kids like to party! You can find pictures of them at everything from the opening of a club in Vegas to the opening of an envelope in Omaha. I came across a few pictures of Jessica Alba and her mom walking in Central Park, Amy Winehouse doing what she does best...drugs, and Michelle Rodriguez looking quite sexy on a beach in Honolulu. Then I came to a perplexing picture of Cacee Cobb digging a thong out of her ass crack. Who is she again? The description said she is a famous celebrity assistant. Famous huh? You sure?

After about 2 hours of "research" (gossip can be quite time consuming) it occurred to me that, save for a few blurbs of Oprah or the occasional shot of Beyonce eating Popeye's chicken, there was no mention of a single black celebrity. Tabloid surfing was feeling more and more like my history classes in grammar school. Let them tell the tale, black people don't exist. Tabloids equate to white folks at parties, white folks eating dinner, white folks shopping, white folks with black eyes, white folks with stains on their shirts, even white folks sitting cross legged! Initially I was offended. Why didn't I see Will Smith coming out of the local sushi spot? Isn't it conceiveable that Kim Porter (the mother of Diddy's kids) and Kimora Lee Simmons may have some play dates with the kids? I hear Jamie Foxx likes to party. No shots of him with Asian twins in a three way kiss at the Mirage in Vegas? And if we MUST have the shot of a young "celebutante" digging her thong out of her ass, my vote is for Christina Milian! Why are black folks so underrepresented in the tabloids? Is this a throw back to the 60's when the only news printed in white papers regarding black people involved murder or mayhem? Or is the white community really so self-involved that they just don't care about what anybody else is doing?

Eventually I calmed down and put a halt to the mass email I was typing urging my black friends to boycott all non black media. Good thing I cooled my heels, because I hate infomercials and that seems to be the advertising of choice on our negro entertainment sources. The thought of only watching chittlin circuit TV on TBS still gives me the chills. Don't get me wrong, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there every now and again should be the standard requirement to keeping your "Black Card" current. But that's all I can really take. Then somebody put me on to the black celebrity gossip sites. OK! Here we go! Black people on the red, good start. Oh snap...Tyra's shopping again...well she is rich. There go Mekhi Phiffer eating lunch on Melrose...uhhm ok. Damn with all these rappers beefin', you mean to tell me NO black celebrities caught a black eye this month? I see Christina Milian went to Miami again. Can I get a thong shot or something? Finally a picture of Jamie Foxx....with his daughter (who's very pretty BTW). OK if you scroll down: there he is humping a stripper from the back! I knew my boy wouldn't let me down! Get it! Aside from that, I have to admit, black celebrities seemed to be pretty tame. Can it be that they just don't get mixed up in shit? Do they really "Keep it in the house?" as momma would say? Can it be, that as a whole, black celebrities have managed to demonstrate good old fashioned Home Training? If you let the tabloids tell the tale, the answer is a resounding "YES!" Not since Barack won the election have I been prouder to be black (psudeo-celeb at that)! Check us out! Knowing how to act and shit!

I once had a white celebutante tell me that her publicist joked that she should skip our outing and go on a date with a white actor who was arguably as (un)known as myself as it would make for a better publicity move. Although I laughed it off at the time, I wish I knew then what I know now. I would've told her to tell her publicist that hanging with me is a guarantee she won't get publicly drunk, a black eye, high on cocaine, or caught in a three way kiss with another chick involved (at least not on camera). Truth be told, I do think the white media is self involved. Granted you won't find a single black celebrity smoking crack on home video singing "Kill Whitey" songs, nor will you find paparazzi parked outside the home of and waiting to catch a glimpse of Angela Bassett taking the garbage out. The simple fact that the media is largely run by white people means that their priority is going to be those who represent them. Good for black celebs, sorta shitty if you’re a white celeb who has any desire to privacy. I know brothas get into messes (I’ve had my fair share of scrapes and scuffles), but by and large, the tabloids don’t care very much. If you’re white in Hollywood, I guess you can call it a gift and a curse.