Friday, February 27, 2009

Michelle Obama
A Bare Arms Beauty

I thought I was done blogging for the day but I must discuss First Lady Michelle Obama and this bare arm nonsense. To the left is Mrs. Obama's official White House portrait. She looks lovely in her sleeveless black dress accented with a double string of pearls.
I've been reading that some of my fellow Americans find that Mrs. Obama baring her arms is distasteful. She wore sleeveless dresses to the President's address to Congress, the Governors' Dinner, the Gershwin Prize ceremony, etc. Seriously, who cares? I guess that's the only thing people can find "wrong" with her.

Lady O is young, beautiful, smart and sexy without being over the top. Some people can't handle seeing her toned chocolate arms. Mrs. Obama works out just about everyday and if she wants to show her arms, she has every right to. It's not like her breasts are all out or her dresses are short. Mrs. Obama is one of our younger first ladies so she's bringing a more contemporary, energetic fashion style to the White House. People are just jealous. They're probably the same haters who lift the remote control more than a barbell. Trust me I haven't hit the weight machine in a while either but seeing her body inspires me, not create jealousy.

Could this be a racial issue? I don't know. As I said before Lady O is smart, beautiful, and sexy in a classy way. This is not an image we see frequently of black women in the media. Sadly, the only sista I can think of is Claire Huxtable from the Cosby Show and that was 20+ years ago. I think sometimes people are more comfortable seeing black folks, as I like to say, "act in their place"--mammies, gangsters, thugs, prostitutes, buffoons. And let's keep it real, brothas aren't the only ones who find Mrs. Obama attractive. I've heard white men and males of other races call her "beautiful". The fact that her black beauty is being praised across racial lines could be a problem for those who want to keep black skin on the bottom of the beauty hierarchy.

On the other hand this bare arm debate could be the conservatives complaining. Or, maybe it's coming from jealous women with their claws out. All I know is I don't have a job, layoffs are increasing daily, people are losing their homes, both American soldiers and innocent Iraqi people are dying everyday and there is still turmoil in Darfur. But Michelle Obama likes to wear sleeveless dresses. Gasp.

Where to Be and What to Watch This Weekend

Black History Month '09 is coming to an end and there's a whole lot of stuff going on

On Saturday the State of the Black Union returns to LA where it began back in 2000. Cocoa Fly will be in the house, well actually the LA Convention Center. Tavis Smiley has been hosting this forum for 10 years now. If you're in the area you may still be able to register for the event at Tickets are free. Or you can watch it at home on one of my favorite channels, C-SPAN. The program starts at 8am PST and yours truly will be up extra early and probably arrive at the convention center probably around 7am. Invited guest panelists include Michael Eric Dyson, Danny Glover, Iyanla Vanzant and Nikki Giovanni. Check back over the weekend for my coverage of the event.

Lifetime is airing two black movies this weekend. Wow 2 whole black movies. Tonight Charles S. Dutton (you remember Roc) plays a prison guard who starts a girls track team for inmates to ease racial tensions in "Racing for Time." Glad to see YaYa DeCosta from the third season of America's Next Top Model co-starring. She's a fly sista that's pretty and talented.

Rosie O'Donnell and Ruby Dee star in "America" which airs Saturday at 9pm with encore airings throughout the weekend. O'donnell's character is a psychiatrist who helps a biracial teen boy named America survive the foster care system. The boy's mother was a crack head. Not sure if his mother his black. I just hope this isn't another one of those "Losing Isiaiah" type of films. I get tired of seeing movies with black women who can't take care of their kids and white people have to save them. But I'll check it out.

I usually like Lifetime Original Movies, especially, the cheesy romantic ones. I know Lifetime has aired black movies from the silver screen like "Brown Sugar." But it would be cool to see some romantic Lifetime Original Movies with black characters. The movies I mentioned above are both about troubled youth. That's not to say these movies are bad because I haven't seen them yet. But I'm tired of watching these movies about black folks struggling in the hood. Yeah, that's a reality in the black community but we have other things going on.

Now from the lower class to the OVERclass. CNBC journalist Lee Hawkins is exploring black wealth in the documentary "Newbos: The Rise of America's New Black Overclass. It's based on his upcoming book with the same title. Some of the people he's interviewing are BET founder Bob Johnson, Kirk Franklin, Cash Money execs ( I have to see this) and more. It originally aired on Thursday and I totally missed it because I was watching Stevie Wonder recieve the Libary of Congress Gershwin Prize on PBS (you can catch reairings of that show in some U.S. cities). "Newbos" reairs this Sunday at 10pm EST.

Okay I'm done plugging folks. Check back this weekend for MY blog on the State of the Black Union. Have a Cocoa Fly Weekend. And thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pres. Obama vs. Gov. Jindal
Nip/Tuck and More

Pres. Obama's Address
and Gov. Bobby Jindal's Campaign Speech

Last night Pres. Obama delivered his address to Congress. He went over his plan to save the country from this economic abyss. Although the economy is affecting me greatly, I liked that he touched upon one of my greatest concerns for this country-- education. He discussed increasing the number of college graduates in this country and added that dropping out of high school is not cutting it. If the U.S. doesn't better our schools and get kids interested in education we are not going to be a super power in the years to come. So many of our scientists, doctors, engineers are coming from overseas. We need to produce more U.S. scientists and other professionals on U.S. soil like we used to.

I find politics interesting and I was looking forward to hearing Gov. Bobby Jindal's rebuttal. Some in the GOP see him as rising in ranks of his party, but he didn't deliver last night. His rebuttal sounded more like a campaign speech. Why, at that moment, did I need to hear about his childhood? And it wasn't necessary to talk about Obama's presidency as historic. We know that already. Last night definitely wasn't the time to show similarities between he and the president. Like how they both have immigrant fathers. Are we stumping already? I'm still recuperating from this past two-year campaign. I wanted to hear some meat. Gov. Jindal waited until the latter half of his speech to actually rebut the president. Not only was the content lacking but the delivery was weak. Come on Governor, you're going on after Pres. Obama you gotta bring it. The fluctuation in his voice along with the hard pauses--it was a bumpy teleprompter read. And according to CNN, some of Gov. Jindal's fellow Republicans are giving his speech a right thumb down.
It seems the GOP recognizes that more Americans want diversity. They have a black RNC Chairman Michael Steel and Gov. Jindal is Indian. But you can't just stick a young, politician of color in front of a camera to compete with Pres. Obama and think it will lure supporters. They tried that with Gov. Sarah Palin to gain women voters during the election and look how that turned out.

Ooops was I Being Racist?

I caught this story on the Electronic Village blog. A mayor in Southern California emailed a photo of the White House and in place of the lawn was a watermelon patch. Under the title of the email read "No Easter egg hunt this year." Keyanus Price, a black businesswoman was one of the recipients of the email. Guess what Mayor Dean Grose of Los Alamitos said to the AP about photo? "I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."

Yeah Right Mayor Grose. Is this what we're going to have deal with the next four or eight years? Racist folks saying racist things and pretending they were clueless about the context.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know a picture of a monkey would anger people."
"I'm sorry. I didn't know joking about the president drinking Kool-Aid and eating fried chicken while counting food stamps had racial connotations."
"I'm sorry I didn't know nappy-headed hoes was offensive."

What's next?
"I'm sorry. I had no idea the word Nigger was a racist term."

Give me a break.

They Better Not Kill Dr. Christian Troy on "Nip/Tuck"

Now for a much needed break from reality. In the past I would catch an episode of "Nip/Tuck" here and there but I'm really getting into it. Dr. Christian Troy is the shadiest, most selfish, inconsiderate, sexy son of a gun and I love it! Plus he's fine. Now Christian has breast cancer and he's got six months to a year to live. The writers can not kill off Christian. The show wouldn't be the same and I'll stop watching. Anyway, Christian wants to get his family affairs together so he's planning to marry the lesbian anesthesiologist Dr. Liz Cruz. I guess when he dies she'll raise his half-black son. This show is crazy. Did you see when Dr. Sean McNamara operated on a woman who burned her lips. Sean took skin from her vaginal lips to rebuild her facial lips. But the funny part is the woman lied to her husband about where the skin came from because he never went down to Jamaica if you know what I mean. Her husband kissed her after the surgery. HA! The show has always been controversial and from what I've read on blogs, some people have stopped watching over the years because they think the writers take things too far. I don't know about them but I'll be watching the season finale next week. Wish I watched it when Sanaa Lathan had a recurring role a few seasons ago.

Photo Credits:
3.Orange County Register

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Madea Goes To Jail

My favorite gun packing, Bible-misquoting granny is back. This time Madea's hot head gets her time behind bars.

"Madea Goes to Jail" stars Tyler Perry (of course), Keshia Knight-Pulliam, cocoa-hotness Derek Luke and Viola Davis. This is not a typical Madea movie. Most of the film's first half is a bit dark and not funny because it focuses on Candace Washington (Knight-Pulliam), a drug addicted prostitute/college dropout. Yes, Rudy Huxtable is playing a crack hooker, but she does a good job in the role. Don't take kids to see this movie. There are scenes where Candace is on the street picking up Johns, having sex and experiencing drug withdrawal shakes. It's sad. Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hardaway (Luke) is Candace's childhood friend who sees her in court after years of no contact and tries to help her get off the streets. But Josh's fiance and colleague Linda Holmes (Ion Overman) is prosecuting Candace's case and she's not down with Josh reaching out to the troubled girl.

There are two parallel storylines. First Candace, then Madea's denial about her anger management problems. Madea was sprinkled in the first half of the film but she's shown more in the second half. That's when the scenes get really funny and the two storylines intersect. The cameo appearances by celebrities were funny too. I won't name the celebs and spoil it for you.

Opening weekend of a Tyler Perry flick is a bootlegger's heaven but ladies support Brotha Perry. I give "Madea Goes to Jail" a BOX OFFICE, not a strong box office rating. Keshia Knight-Pulliam did a great job. She showed her acting range and I did not see Rudy Huxtable on that screen. Knight-Pulliam made a smart career move taking this role. I always thought Derek Luke was cute but he is super-chocolaty-yummy FINE in this movie. It was something about him in those suits. Hallelujer! Oh yeah, his acting was good too.

Viola Davis portrays a tough minister who counsels prostitutes. I loved her character, she didn't take any mess. I wanted to see more Madea because I came to the movie with the expectation to laugh a lot. There was so much focus on the prostitute character in the first half of the movie that Tyler Perry could've made the film without Madea. It took too long for the storylines to cross. But Perry delving into this story about the prostitute proves that he can write dramas. I know people love his comedy but I would like to see him produce a drama. No funny lines, just straight -up, serious drama.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cocoa Reads
Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer

In between partying and hanging out with family I'm hitting the library this weekend. If you're also heading to the library or bookstore a fly read to pick up is "Waiting in Vain." This bestselling novel is a throwback from 2003, but I recently read "Waiting in Vain" for the first time. It's the love story of a Caribbean painter named Fire and Sylvia, a New York magazine editor. Author Colin Channer takes the reader on this journey of love hrough the black Diaspora--New York, Jamaica, London. I see why the main character is named Fire because the love scenes are H-O-T. They're not grimy but sensual and steamy. Channer is great at writing love scenes that not only get in the head of male characters but the female characters as well. If you read it or have read it let me know what you think about the book.

For my Cocoa Fly readers going to the mall this weekend and looking for a deal, go to Circuit City. I stopped by the store last night and picked up a couple of CDs and DVDs. They were all 50% off. Most of the electronics were gone, but that may not be the case for stores near you. Just to warn you, I stood in a short line to get in the store because they were short on employees. I bought "Sex & The City:The Movie," "Under the Tuscan Sun" and Bon Jovi-- all half off. They also had Kanye, Anthony Hamilton, Keyshia Cole, "The Dark Knight," "The Family that Preys" movie and soundtrack, etc. There's some good stuff left, you just have to look.

If you neded to stock up on "Hancock" DVDs I saw plenty of them. As we say in the Bay, there were HELLA "Hancock" movies. I walked into the door , there's a"Hancock" display to greet me. Go a couple of feet, shelf full of "Hancock" DVDs. I'm searching through the TV on DVD bin, there's "The Office," oooh "Extras: Season Two, " and about 15 copies of "Hancock." I haven't seen the movie but from what I hear, I would've have given it a BOOTLEG rating. Maybe that's why there were so many LOL.

Have a fly weekend. Thanks for reading. Hopefully I'll have a review on "Madea Goes To Jail" next week. I usually don't like to see Tyler Perry movies opening weekend because the theaters are too packed and I don't want ....Oh no, what's that I see?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New York Post Gone Ape

This is why we need diversity in newsrooms. The NY Post published a cartoon this morning in response to Pres. Obama's stimulus bill. Judging by the cartoon, they didn't like it. The cartoon depicts a monkey being killed by the police. The police say in the cartoon, "We have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill. " Let's see here....hmmm, a monkey is a derogatory symbol of black people. Our president is black and drafted the stimulus bill. Police and black folks have a strained history, unlawful killings is one of the reasons behind the tension. So what is the NY Post trying to get at?

Rev. Al Sharpton called the cartoon "offensive and divisive." According to Reuters, Rev. Sharpton and other activists are going to make a visit to the Post's office tomorrow and protest. The New York Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan says the cartoon was a " clear parody" that "mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. " The cartoon also parodies the recent shooting of a 200-pound chimp by Connecticut police. The chimp almost killed its owner's friend.

I'm with Rev. Al on this one. The cartoon is racially offensive, violent and disrespectful to our president. I don't have a problem with political satire or expressing disappointment with the president's policies. But when you throw in racist and violent undertones to your argument, it's going too far. Poking fun at a near-fatal animal attack was also in poor taste. The Post says their intentions were not to be racist. I know the Post doesn't carry the same journalistic standards like the AP or New York Times. Still, an editor should've had the sense to know the historical, racial context behind the images in the cartoon and pointed out why this would cause such a stir. Either the Post didn't know or didn't care what message they were sending. That's the problem with the lack of diversity in news media. Now the Post has to deal with Rev. Al.

Nights In Rodanthe

A few days ago I watched "Nights in Rodanthe" On Demand. Time Warner was having a $.01 special for some of their On Demand movies. That's right, I only paid a penny. I've been wanting to see "Nights in Rodanthe" for a while. I was seduced by the steamy trailer. Richard Gere and Diane Lane--this has to be good right?

Gere plays Paul, a surgeon who is facing the consequences of putting career first and familiy second. As for Lane's charachter Adrienne, life has not been kind. Her cheating husband wants her back and she's dealing with the recent death of her father. All this while raising two children. Paul and Adrienne go to a secluded beach inn to process life, but love intervenes.

Good plot, great actors but I have to give "Nights in Rodanthe" a BOOTLEG rating. The film needs more passion, more fire. When I say passion, I don't mean intercourse, but intimacy. In all fairness the movie is based on Nicholas Sparks' best selling novel and maybe the writers were following the book's tone. However, if my husband left me for another woman, and I'm in a remote beach inn with a hot doctor that looks like Richard Gere AND I don't have the kids for the know what I'm saying? Seriously, the movie is just okay. The idea of the plot is good but there aren't enough scenes that show why these people are in love. The film seems more fit for the Lifetime channel, not the big screen. That's not a diss to Lifetime movies because I watch those too.

There are some positive things about "Nights in Rodanthe". Viola Davis' funny character Jean spices up the screen the few times she appears. The scenery is beautiful and I did have an interest in the characters. But that wasn't enough for me.

"Nights in Rodanthe" is on DVD so there's no need for your bootlegger to look in his car trunk for this flick (luckily I got a good deal On Demand). Save your Netflix money and wait until HBO airs it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black Family Among Victims of NY Plane Crash

My heart and prayers go out to all the victims' families from the Continental Flight 3407 plane crash. Much of the news coverage on the victims has been about the 9/11 widow. I want to point out that a family from New Jersey was killed--Donald Mossop, 42, Dawn Mossop, 48 (above left), their 12-year-old son Shawn (below) along with Dawn's sister Ferris Reid,45 (above right). They were traveling to visit family in Canada. Ironically, Dawn invited her best friend's kids to tag along since Shawn was an only child. But the friend told WGRZ she declined the invitation because her family doesn't like to fly in winter weather.

The AP lists the names and backgrounds of the other flight victims. When tragedies like these happen I always try to read about the non-survivors. I guess it's my way of paying respect to the deceased. And it's a reminder that those people were someone's friend, parent, lover, child, etc.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pick Your Movement
Fight the Power or Burn Your Bras

I haven't blogged much about the Chris Brown alleged beating of Rihanna because the rumor mill has been in full force since the news broke. From what I've read over the last week in other black blogs, some people in the comments section are saying Rihanna probably brought on the beat down. They've bought into the stereotype of the "typical" Caribbean woman saying Rihanna was probably acting like a, feisty, hot-headed West Indian woman who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. And that justifies her beating? It's not just men blaming Rih Rih, women too. Surprise, surprise. For years black women have been in the middle of this racism/sexism tug of war. We either fight for the black community or fight for women's rights. Standing for women's rights means calling out all men, including brothas on their sexism and male privilege. We saw this with Mike Tyson, the OJ Simpson trial and Kobe Bryant's rape case. Do you defend the woman who's crying out rape or physical abuse? Or do you stand by the black man who you think is being attacked by society and the media because of his race? Some black women wont report their black abusers because of "racial loyalty," which Howard Professor Tricia Bent-Goodley describes as a black woman's choice "to withstand abuse and make a conscious self-sacrifice for what she perceives as the greater good of the community but to her own physical, psychological, and spiritual detriment." So once again the black woman is putting the community before herself, her life even. What good is the black community if the black woman is unhealthy, unhappy, or dead? Supporting women shouldn't automatically equate with abandoning your race or being anti-black man.

I brought all of this up because Chris Brown, his father and Rihanna's father made comments over the weekend. Rihanna's father Ronald Fenty, told People magazine that his daughter has some bruising. Fenty said," I hope she will stand up for women all over the world."As for her relationship with Chris Brown ,Fenty told People, "If it were me, I'd move on."

Good advice Mr. Fenty.

Chris Brown says he's "sorry" and "saddened" over what transpired. Brown's father Clinton, who is ironically a correction officer also spoke to People magazine. He said, "This is unfortunate, this stumble, this situation," Brown continues. "Hopefully, he will get past it. We all have our shortcomings. We all trip."

No Mr. Brown, tripping is snapping at your best friend because you had a bad day or cussin' out the waiter for bringing you blue cheese instead of ranch dressing. Allegedly beating a woman is more than just "tripping." It's a serious problem that can land your son in jail.

The saga continues. In the meantime I've picked my movement. Maybe I'll wear my Malcolm X t-shirt to a "Vagina Monologues" show.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love, Love, Love

I can't believe it's almost Valentine's Day. This year is going by fast. Looking back over the week at the news and my own observations of the world, I can't help but notice how love always appears.

Rihanna and Chris Brown showed us that just because two people act like they're in LOVE, doesn't mean it's really LOVE.

Usher put LOVE before a Grammy party to be by his sick wife in Brazil.

A 27-year-old business man shot and killed himself in his Bentley. Police say he was "distraught over financial stuff." It's sad how some people base their LOVE for life on money and things.

The infamous octuplets mom is getting no LOVE from the public.

Many still LOVE to watch Michelle and Barack Obama act LOVINGLY with each other.

Are people putting the Obamas LOVE on too high of a pedestal?

Rush Limbaugh would've LOVED for the Stimulus Package to fail in the House, but it passed.

Whether you're on the left, right or middle, I'm sure everyone would LOVE to have a fat bailout check in their hands right now.

My heart goes out to the people who lost their LOVED ones in the Buffalo plane crash.

Always appreciate those you LOVE.

I am LOVING "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" crossover shows.

Eartha's Kitt last interview before she died aired on PBS last night. Hearing her story made me LOVE her even more.

Why are people tripping off Halle Berry's comments about being in LOVE with a white man? I think I'll blog about interracial dating next week.

I just saw "Under the Tuscan Sun" for the first time and guess what? That's right, I LOVED it.

I LOVE stories about writers.

I'm LOOOOVING Robin Thicke's new video "Dreamworld."

While in the grocery story at the fried chicken line, this 67-year old black man kept going on about his 50-year-old girlfriend that he clearly adored. He told me she looked younger than 50 and "ain't got a wrinkle on her face." I guess you're never too old find LOVE.

I don't know why strangers LOVE to tell me about their personal lives.

Didn't you LOVE how David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix?

I LOVE the rain, but hate how people in LA drive like the roads are dry. Slow down!

Sundays in LA I LOVE. The city is mellow and people are relaxing after partying all weekend.

I'm with Ellen DeGeneres, I LOVE to dance too.

I'd LOVE to live and work in London one day.

Speaking of the U.K., I used to LOVE to watch "Are You Being Served?"

My friends and I still LOVE flirting with cute waiters.

Oooh I wish I had a copy of "LOVE Jones" on DVD.

Remember Nia Long's poem in "LOVE JONES"? It was written by Pinkie Gordon Lane who passed away a few months ago.

...I am remembering water
That glows in the dawn
The motion tumbled in earth
Life hidden in mounds

I am dancing a bright beam of light

I am remembering love.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day.

1. Image from Webweaver's Clip Art

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Artist Synthia Saint James Unveils Piece
Inspired by Pres. Obama

A few days ago renowned artist Synthia Saint James unveiled her latest piece "Fire Rainbow Obama" to onlookers at the African American Fire Fighter Museum in Los Angeles. Saint James says the piece is inspired by the hope that President Obama has created throughout the world. She learned about fire rainbows a few years ago from her aunt. They are a rare phenomenon in nature. They've been seen in the Midwestern United States.

The painting features a group of people of various races, nationalities and ages gazing up at this vibrant rainbow. There is no overt image of the president but he and his family are in the crowd. Also if you notice in the center of the front row, there's an African man and white woman next to each other. They represent the President's parents.

The painting is beautiful. I love the rainbow because it's bright and strong, yet peaceful. The piece reflects the spirit of many Americans and much of the world during and after the election. Saint James says she is working on getting a copy sent to the Obama's.

The day of the unveiling marked Saint James' 60th birthday. She looks nowhere near 60. See what happens when you take care of yourself and do things that make you happy? This year also marks her 40th anniversary as a professional artist. And what a career. Saint James has written and illustrated 13 children's books, created the U.S. Postal Kwanzaa stamp, designed architecture for facilities in California and Florida, won numerous awards and her paintings have been on the cover of more than 60 books. If you read Terry McMillan or Iyanla Vanzant you've probably seen her art on some of their book covers. According to her website Saint James is celebrating her 60th birthday in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Photo Credits: Both photos by Cocoa Fly/Jenee Darden

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Girl, should I call him first or wait for him to call me?

If he says "nice to meet you" at the end of the date does that mean he's digging me?

We've done it many times but he introduces me as a "friend " to his boys. Does that mean we're not together?

Those are a just a few of the many questions tackled in the romantic comedy"He's Just Not That Into You." It's based on the 2004 bestselling book by former "Sex and the City" writers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. The movie carries a star studded cast including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly from "Entourage"(love him!), Scarlett Johansson etc.

"He's Just Not that Into You" follows the tangled love lives of nine young professionals in Baltimore (This isn't the Baltimore we saw in "The Wire"). There are a lot of story lines but overall the movie illustrates two things: love is complicated because we make it complicated, and there are signs when a guy or girl isn't into you. Like Neil and Beth (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston) who've been dating for seven years, but Neil doesn't want to say "I Do". Then there's the player Connor (Kevin Connolly). He can't shake his feelings for Anna (Scarlett Johansson), a yoga instructor who uses him when she needs an ego boost.

Jennifer Connolly and Drew Barrymore are some of the bigger names tied to the film but who really shined was Ginnifer Goodwin from HBO's "Big Love." She played the perfect sweet, naive, man stalking, desperate romantic Gigi. There's a little bit of Gigi in all of us...I hope just a little bit. We've checked our cell phone a million times to see if "he" called after that first date; or over romanticized a relationship in our head that in reality wasn't a relationship to begin with. Some of ya'll may have even gone to a brotha's job unannounced just days after you met him. Hmmmm...

No need to hit up your bootleg seller in the hair salon. "He's Just Not That Into" gets my Box Office stamp. The characters are interesting and their love problems were believable. I thought some parts of the ending were unrealistic. However the writers did a good job creating multiple storylines that were easy for the viewers to follow. It's definitely a fun film to watch.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Drama at the Grammys than Oscars

Sadly incidents outside the Grammys were more interesting than the actual award ceremony. Everyone's talking about R&B singer Chris Brown allegedly assaulting his girlfriend Rihanna. The LAPD booked Brown last night.

Usher canceled his performance for Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party Saturday night. He rushed to Brazil to be with wife Tameka Foster who is suffering from plastic surgery complications. Foster is reportedly in stable condition.

As for the Grammy show--B.O.R.I.N.G. Many of the acts were weak. Heavy hitters like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, were missing and needed. There were some high points. Jennifer Hudson was great of course. Carrie Underwood--country fierce. Coldplay brought it as usual. The Rap Pack theme of the "Swagga Like Us" collabo was cool. A nine-months pregnant M.I.A. bouncing around the screen in a tight black, nylon-looking bodysuit took away from the performance at times. The black and white polka dots covering her boobs and belly left my eyes hurting. A cute baby doll dress like the one she wore to the show would have been more flattering. The LA Times report M.I.A. performed on her due date and a golf cart was on standby in case her water broke. I do give her props for her energy because M.I.A didn't move like a woman due to give birth any day . The Jonas Brothers lost their swagger on Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." They sounded off and one forgot a few of the lyrics. Neal Diamond should've performed "Sweet Caroline" earlier in the show. By the time he sang I needed to hear something with energy and the song was too slow for the latter half of the program. Tom Jones would've been a better pick. Kudos to Lil' Wayne for getting deep on "Tie My Hands" with Robin Thicke. Incorporating New Orleans Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Mardi Gras dancers into the performance reminded viewers of Hurricane Katrina and the Big Easy's soul and culture.

Maybe I'm getting old but I remember when my friends and family were hyped about Grammy night. The performances were memorable and watching my favorite artists win awards was fun. Now many of the awards are given off air. Only 10 awards made it to the podium during last night's broadcast. Another bummer, Jazmine Sullivan didn't go home with a trophy. She's still awesome. We'll get 'em next album Jazmine!

Ahhhh but the one person who never disappoints is the always handsome, always fly LL Cool J. All he did was introduce an act and that was enough for me.

Below are some artists who we didn't see take home Grammy gold.

Best Vocal Performance
Carrie Underwood Last Name

Best Traditonal Pop Vocal Album
Natalie Cole Still Unforgettable

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
Alicia Keyes Superwoman

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
Nee-Yo Miss Independent

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
Al Green featuring Anthony Hamilton "You've Got the Love I Need"

Best Contemporary R&B Album
Mary J. Blige Growing Pains

Best Rap/Song Collaboration
Estelle Featuring Kanye West American Boy

Best Gospel Performance
CeCe Winans Waging War

Photo Credit:
3. Lester Cohen/

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Hot Weekend

Contrary to what Tony! Toni! Tone! sang back in the day it does rain in Southern California. Luckily rain makes perfect movie weather so make sure to check out the Pan African Film Festival. This year film screenings will be shown at the Culver Plaza Theatres in Culver City. You can still see the art show at the Baldwin Hills Mall. Support these Black artists. The great thing about indi films is you see images of Black people that aren't shown in mainstream Hollywood. The festival runs through February 16th. It's the largest Black film festival in the country.

There will be plenty of partying going on this Grammy weekend. I hear Busta Rhymes is throwing an afterparty Sunday at Ivar in Hollywood. The Grammys come on this Sunday, 8pm on CBS. I'm rooting for Jennifer Hudson, Jazmine Sullivan, Pink, Keyshia Cole, Mary J. Blige and Eric Benet.

Have a FLY weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

End Black History Month?

Good black documentaries and films on every day--must be Black History Month. Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays famed-neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson in the TNT movie "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story." The film shows Dr. Carson's journey from his childhood troubles to making history in the operating room. Kimberly Elise also stars in "Gifted Hands" (love her!). Watch this Saturday 8pm PT/ET on TNT. Sounds like a good movie for the fam, especially if you have black sons.

This week Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley proposed that we end black history month. She writes:

"I propose that, for the first time in American history, this country has reached a point where we are can stop celebrating separately, stop learning separately, stop being American separately. We have reached a point where most Americans want to gain a larger understanding of the people they have not known, customs they have not known, traditions they have not known."

A brotha wins the White House, another black coach wins the Super Bowl and now folks are talking about cutting Black History Month? LOL. Seriously, I understand Riley's reasons. Like her, I'm all for racial unity in this country. However when I celebrate black history it's not to separate myself from other Americans. I'm learning what was missing in my high school history books. Same thing goes for when I read about Latino American history, Native American history etc. These cultural celebrations honor the diversity of our country and reminds us that people of all genders and races contributed to this nation. What's next--universities should terminate their ethnic studies and women studies departments? Until U.S. history books quadruple their page numbers and give more detail about this nation's past then I may reconsider Riley's argument.

Who needs Black History Month more than anyone are black people. A few years ago I worked as a TA in an Oakland Public School. I spoke to some third graders about college. I wanted them to see someone from their neighborhood could get a degree. One little girl said to me with sass, "My momma said she ain't went college, my daddy ain't went to college and I ain't going to college." Too many of our own children believe that black folks can only achieve on the football field, basketball courts and on a sitcom. Why? Because many of US, our people, haven't encouraged our children to think bigger. We can't let the media dictate how our children see themselves. We need to teach our children about Doctors Charles Drew and Ben Carson so they know they can attend med school. Tell your kids they can literally reach for the stars and moon like astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison. All scientists aren't white men. Look at Venus and Serena Williams. They knew it was possible to excel in the tennis world because before them was Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson. Some of us haven't grown up around black professionals. You can expose them to your children through books and mentors. I knew if Ida B. Wells could break news stories in the late 1800s, so could I in the 21st Century. With all the excitement over Obama we must pass along the significance of this historic moment to our children and grandchildren. Thirty years from now I don't want to hear some black teenager ask "Who's Barack Obama?" because his granddaddy didn't tell his daddy--who didn't tell him.

With that said Happy Black History Month and remember to celebrate in February but study all year long.

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cocoa Reads

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to write book reviews. I am a voracious reader. I can't go too long without reading a book. Fiction, non-fiction doesn't matter. Since I've been on a tight budget the library and I have become best friends. I actually read more because I'm not paying for books. I haven't jump started on new reads for this year so most of these titles I read last year. Trust me, they're good reads.

It's All Love
edited by Marita Golden

"It's All Love," edited by one of my favorite writers, Marita Golden just landed on bookshelves Tuesday. I haven't read it yet but when Marita Golden puts her pen to a page I know I'm in for a treat. "It's All Love" is an anthology of love stories from 40 writers and poets including talents like Pearl Cleage and Kwame Alexander.
Cocoa Fly readers in the DC area can catch Golden and other writers for book signings.

Thursday, Feb 5th, 6:00pm Borders Washington, DC (on K street)
Thursday, Feb 12th, 7:00pm Borders, Capital Centre, Maryland
Tuesday, Feb 24th, 6:00pm Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC
Sunday, March 22nd, 2:30pm Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Maryland
Sunday, March 29th, 2:00pm Enoch Pratt Library, Maryland

Hiding in Hip Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry
by Terrance Dean

Every young black woman from 18-40 needs to read this book. It's not quite like the down low book we saw from J.L. King in 2005. This book looks at homosexuality in the hip hop industry and judging from what Terrence Dean writes, it's very common. Dean, who is gay and works in the industry, exposes the reader to an underground gay hip hop subculture. He features stories of sexual encounters he witnessed and participated in with black stars and executives. Dean gives clues to who these people are but never reveals names. I read this book before Wanda Sykes came out to the public and I knew reading it that she was someone he hinted at in the book. But what's more important is that Dean shares some of the lingo and mannerisms of young, black down low men. That' s why I think young sistas need to read this book. Too many of us are getting infected with HIV and being informed on issues like this is one way to protect ourselves. It's funny to think that all these years we've watched rappers say they're hardcore, anti-gay, women juggling gangstas. Yet, when the music video cameras are off some are curled up in the bed with other men. I don't have a problem with homosexuality. Living double lives and lying to your woman is what I find disturbing.

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception
by-Scott McClellan

Yes this is an era of change. But if you're not sick of hearing about the Bush Administration or you're searching for answers read "What Happened." Author Scott McClellan was Pres Bush's Press Secretary. McClellan gives his view of what went down behind the scenes with the Weapons of Mass Destruction fiasco, the leaking of a CIA agent's identity and the infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner that hung behind Pres. Bush as he was giving a speech about the Iraq War. It's definitely a good read for those interested in working in government media relations. McClellan was loyal to Bush for years and worked with Bush when he was a Texas governor. At times McClellan tries to paint this friendly image of Pres. Bush while arguing the former president made big mistakes and surrounded himself with shady people. Just keep in mind this is McClellan's view of the situation so everything may not be fact.
I love the title because it reminds me of being a little kid, getting in trouble and the first thing you tell your mom is, "See what happened was..."

Why So Serious Christian Bale?

I hate when cute actors ruin the fantasy and show their "other side." I just went on TMZ's website and listened to "Batman" star Christian Bale curse out a photography director. Scratch that, he CUSSED OUT the photography director. The guy walked onto a set while Bale was filming a scene for a new "Terminator" film. I can understand Bale being P'd off because having to re-shoot a scene wastes time and money. And I don't know if anything happened prior to the incident to cause Bale's reaction. But did he really have to rip into the man like that? I'm one of 11 million+ jobless Americans. Yet Bale who makes millions per film is trippin' off of a careless photography director? Must be nice.

Now the question becomes who is more wrong in this situation: Bale or the person who released the audio?

Tell me what you think.

Photo Credit: AP

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cocoa Bits:
Jennifer Hudson, Rafael Nadal,
Kelly Rowland

I've only been away from my blog for a few days and there's so much to talk about. First, thanks to all those who listened to me on NPR's "News and Notes" Friday. I enjoyed talking about Pres. Obama's stimulus plan, bipartisianship on Capitol Hill, unions and former Illinois Gov. Blagojevich.

Jennfier Hudson Super Star at the Super Bowl
Wasn't it great to see Jennifer Hudson on Sunday night? J Hud did a phenomenal job singing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. Watch out Whitney! MTV and other news outlets report that Hudson lip synched the song. I could tell by watching her that it wasn't live. The producers say they made the call on J-Hud and Faith Hill, who sang "America the Beautiful" to perform a recorded track. That's disappointing because both ladies can sing. If I paid $1,000 for a Super Bowl seat I'd want a live performance in addition to a good game. I have to call out the media on their coverage of this lip synching story. For a while I didn't know that both J-Hud and Faith Hill lip synched. Most of the headlines I saw read "Jennifer Hudson Lip Synched Performance." I didn't see Faith Hill's name until I read the subtitle or the body of the article. I know people were probably more interested in Hudson's performance because this was her first public appearance since her family's tragedy. But the media should've been more fair. Hudson has a lot of things to look forward too. She's up for 4 Grammy awards, 7 NAACP Image Awards and she' going on tour this spring. None of those things can bring her family back but maybe doing what she loves best can help her some.

Nadal Unstoppable at the Australian Open, Makes Opponent Cry
I know very, very, very little about sports. I get baseball. But I can watch a whole game of football, basketball and tennis and still be unclear about the rules. Remind me again, what's the purpose of a safety in football? I know I'm pitiful. However I do watch sports, especially tennis. One of my favorite players aside from Venus and Serena is Spain's Rafael Nadal. I missed the Australian Open last weekend where he beat Swiss tennis great Roger Federer from Switzerland. Federer is ranked second in the world and Nadal is number one. They're both good players and when they go against each other it's like a battle. So why did Federer, a grown 26-year-old man cry after he lost? Federer was number one for three or four years until last year and some consider him one of the greatest tennis players in history. I imagine going from being number one to chasing the number spot can be hard on the ego. Remember that Nelly song--"I am number one. Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers." I don't agree with Nelly's theory. I have a little bit of advice to Mr. Federer. Next time save the tears for the locker room and wait until the cameras are off.

Kelly Rowland tells manager Matthew Knowles PEACE, I'M OUT

FINALLY!!!! This story came out last week but I'm glad Kelly Rowland left the Knowles Empire. None of her singles made me want to buy her albums. Her songs got little airplay. I think Mr. Knowles was putting more energy into his daughters Beyonce and Solange. I always liked Kelly and saw potential so hopefully her career will really take off now. Kelly and Mr. Knowles both released statements saying they're still like family. Hope so since Kelly lived with the Knowles family during most of her childhood. Kelly is blowing up in Europe and now lives there. She has not released any news of who is her new manager. Kelly has a lot to prove with her next album. Maybe her former Destiny Child's group mate Michelle Williams will jump ship next.
A few years back I produced a NPR interview with Mr. Knowles. He and I spoke afterwards. Nice conversation. I knew he didn't grow up with a lot of money so I asked him does all this success surprise you sometimes. He told me he always envisioned being big in the music world. He constantly saw his goals in his mind and believed he could achieve them. That was his key to success. The conversation to this day inspires me to dream big. And Kelly's move reminds me that sometimes you gotta make changes to turn your dreams into reality.


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