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Real Housewives of Atlanta: A Golddigging Fantasy February 27, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Real Housewives.
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Gather ’round, children!

Once upon a time, there was a golddigger named Kim. She was the fairest in all the land of Atlanta. Her boobs were spectacular, but alas, they were not real. Her flaxen hair was the best that could be provided by Kim’s House of Wigs. She desperately wanted to be loved and showered with gold and baubles. She thought that her prince had come in the form of a married dude named Big Poppa. Alas, she was wrong. Our golddigger also wanted fame, so she thought that that ship had come in the form of a dalliance with another woman. But alas, that was not to last.

Then, one magical evening, Big Poppa dropped our golddigger off at a ball. An elegant ball attended by everyone in the land. And then, like a ray of light shining through dark clouds, a handsome, young, fine-assed football player named Sir Kroy appeared. Did I mention that he was a football player? For the Atlanta Falcons? CHA-CHING! I mean, LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

Our golddigger was happy! However, the road to true gold must be paved, and what better pavement than a baby. Thus it was, our golddigger got seriously knocked up by the Fine Ass of Sir Kroy. In the land of Atlanta, that’s called “taking it slow.” And thus it was, in the due course of time, our golddigger delivered unto the world a little bundle of gold—I mean, joy. Everyone in the land marveled at how fair Prince Kroy Jagger Biermann was, including Kim’s really creepy dad, Joe. I mean, seriously. Dude also made a boob joke about his daughter and later commented on said daughter’s sex life with the Fine Ass of Kroy. Freak.

Anyway, our goldigger’s happiness was to be made more complete when she and Sir Kroy moved into the Biermann Estate. The Lady Brielle did not realize that Sir Kroy wouldn’t be the pushover that her mother is and would require that she contribute to the well-being of Biermann Manor. Sir Kroy also revealed unto our golddigger that he likes firearms and chopping wood, things that the Lady Kim found déclassé. Not willing to disturb connubial bliss, our dear golddigger took up shooting. All was happy. For a time.

The unconfined happiness of the Biermann Estate was to be interrupted by the horror that is Sir Kroy’s job. Seriously, this show treats Kroy going off to NFL training camp like he’s going to Afghanistan. Anyway, this fairy tale is not over, as Bravo wants ratings gold in the form of a show revolving entirely around the Lady Kim’s wedding to Sir Kroy. Everyone in the land shall watch and be entertained!


Real Housewives of Atlanta: Same Screeching, Different Country February 20, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Real Housewives.
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Last Time: Screeching chickens screeched in South Africa. NeNe wasn’t one of the screeching chickens. They saw animals and engaged in a bit of “philanthropy,” thus reinforcing the view of “Africa” as a benighted wasteland full of wildlife and poor black people. FUN!
The ladies ever so demurely sit down to take tea. However, there is no tea, so they drink white wine. I’m certain it is only the best that South Africa has to offer. As they take tea—I mean, wine, they reflect on the absolute blessing it is to Be An American and their burden to bring toilet paper to all the brown children in the world. Phaedra believes that this is a bonding moment and that the recent unpleasantness will soon be behind them.

She also believes that it is her duty to serve as a cultural ambassador, for not all of the ladies share her pedigree. Thus, she takes them to a museum based on Xhosa culture. The burden of enlightenment is such a heavy one! They meet a sangoma—an herbalist. He mentions bones, which offends the delicate sensibilities of our dear Phaedra. She wishes she had her holy oil and prayer cloth, for this ritual is not what proper women partake of. The sangoma tries to read Kandi and the Concubine, but since this ceremony doesn’t have a label attached to it, she really cannot be interested. Sangoma tells Sheree she is too old and will not get married. It’s in the bones. This is turning out to be a most decidedly uncomfortable cultural encounter.

The Concubine ever so gracefully shows the ladies all the sedate shoes and purses she brought. She brought 29 pairs of shoes. I’m gratified she was able to show such restraint. Over tea—I mean, wine, the ladies who lunch chat about providing domestic bliss. Carnal domestic bliss. Cynthia thinks the ladies are beginning to bond, but the Concubine and Kandi start a little tete-a-tete. Kandi finds the continued discussion of labels and brands déclassé. NeNe defends the Concubine’s honor, but the Concubine will not be defended! She LOVES FASHION! She loves it so much, she gets sick the next day. But, being a proper lady of breeding, she does not wish to go to an “African doctor.” She cannot go on safari. Cynthia: “I guess it’s gonna be a pretty quiet safari.” Phaedra thinks the sangoma put a hex upon the Concubine!

Julius the Patient takes the ladies—minus NeNe and the Concubine—on yet another safari. This affords “the Smalls” an opportunity to sway Cynthia to their noble cause. Kandi notes that Cynthia and she have similar backgrounds of proper breeding and taste. Sadly, it’s that which the Concubine lacks. How can she be so déclassé? Cynthia interviews that she feels The Smalls are more inviting. She and Kandi cannot visualize their dear absent Kim holding a poor black benighted baby in a poor, benighted orphanage. Surely this will not soon become a point of contention! As the ladies lunch, NeNe arrives, concerned that the Smalls will take the opportunity to convert Cynthia. This is a very war for Cynthia’s soul!

NeNe did not come to Africa to engage in distasteful conversation about a lady and is thus nonplussed with all of this unladylike talk about the Concubine. Why, obsessive concern about labels is perfectly normal, says Cynthia, to the surprise of the Smalls, who were convinced that they had convinced Cynthia of the error of her ways. Kandi: “She clearly has a different opinion when NeNe is around.”

The Smalls call Kim, so concerned are they for her welfare. Kim is doing her best to manage the Biermann estate. She reminisces about past unpleasantness with NeNe, but the subject soon turns to whether or not Kim would have come in the first place. Kandi is none too pleased with Sheree’s revelation to Kim of what Kandi and Cynthia said during the safari. Kim, reeling from these revelations, discusses this development with the help—I mean, her personal assistant, Sweetie. This does not bode well for future events.
As the ladies sit down to dinner, Kandi would like to discuss the recent conversation with Lady Kim. NeNe is quite amused by this: “So y’all had to get back and report to your boss?” Sheree would prefer that Kandi pull her aside and discuss this with her in private, as all ladies of proper taste and breeding do. But then, the conversation turns to the Concubine’s obsession with labels, but none of the other ladies will support Kandi in her correct observations. Cynthia notes that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Well, Lady Cynthia, if you’d had an ounce of a spine, perhaps things would have been different.

Real Housewives of Atlanta: Black Women’s Burden February 13, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Real Housewives.
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Last Time: Marlo the Concubine took this opportunity to show her homophobic ass and begin squawking like a beweaved bird. Sheree followed suit.

Hey, we’re still in Africa. South Africa, that is. We seem to have picked up right where we left off, so I’m checking out until these chickens start speaking English again. Phaedra: “I rebuke the Devil.” Ha! Sheree’s friend is apparently a loud homosexual who rents out humans to play with fire. Sheree’s loud homosexual friend also knows a lot of hot people, such as Vince. He’s from Botswana. Vince from Botswana can totally get it. He claims to know who Xscape was, and that totally flatters Kandi. That means we must now start talking about sex. Sheree thinks that Kandi might finally get laid. But Kandi’s all “He doesn’t even have a job.” So no Kandi Koated Nights for you, Vince from Botswana!

Meanwhile, the Concubine, Cynthia and NeNe go to Nobu. A restaurant. Cynthia is disappointed, because she wanted to hang out in the bush. She is also surprised and insulted that the Concubine dropped the word “faggot.” NeNe is likewise chagrined. Maybe it’s a growth moment for our NeNe!

All the ladies make it to Jade. A nightclub. Because you can’t do that in the States! The Concubine gives Sheree the finger and starts making Euros rain. Kandi: “She wants to entice Sheree into something.” Kandi and Phaedra wisely start picking up all them Euros.

Y’all, this was only the FIRST DAY.

The next day, the ladies are quite exhausted, as they spent all night partying. Poor ladies. They make it to a game reserve to see animals. Dumb Concubine wants to know if this luxury game reserve does hair and make-up. Phaedra: “Get over yourself!” The Concubine whines about closet space. The ladies have to dip their delicate hands in a bowl to choose their rooms. Phaedra is thrilled that the Concubine is in the room she least wanted to be in.

The next day, Cynthia is ready to go. Where are the rest of you bitches ladies! Cynthia is ready to see South Africa! Because she’s been there before! And she is not a labelwhore, like NeNe and Concubine! Oddly, Sheree claims she isn’t one, either. I guess she can’t afford to be. Concubine name drops brands like a twenty year old.

So, the ladies safari and see animals. Well, they try to. Poor Cynthia is stuck with the Concubine and NeNe. She’s embarrassed and thinks they’re acting childish. I’d totally want to hang with Phaedra and Kandi. Their tour guide picks up some elephant dung and explains its medicinal properties. Sheree, Kandi, and Phaedra don’t appear convinced.

For some reason, this vacation involves a trip to an orphanage. I wonder why. Would this have something to do with social awareness? Phaedra wants to show them “the other side of Africa.” Ever notice how none of the other Real Housewives shows have such shows when the women go invade another country? Anyway, schoolchildren entertain the ladies and the ladies buy a ton of supplies for the school and the orphanage. Somewhere along the way, this turned into a Very Special Episode of The Amazing Race. We’ll be back to drama, screaming, and acting foolish next week.

Saying Goodbye to Whitney February 12, 2012

Posted by Skippy in Music, Observations.
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Yesterday, Whitney Houston died. When I found out, I was shocked—even more so than when I found out about Michael Jackson or Amy Winehouse’s deaths. Both of those singers’ untimely deaths were shocking and saddening. However, they didn’t hit me the way Whitney’s passing did. I followed the news and the tributes springing up on my Facebook newsfeed, and over the course of the evening, I grew sadder and sadder, feeling as though I had lost a loved one. It might seem strange to say this, but I felt like a part of my childhood had died. That’s a rather hoary cliché, but I think it’s quite apropos.

Growing up a black, poor, gay, socially awkward nerd in a place like Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 1980s was difficult–at best. At worst, it was occasionally unbearable. The only awareness about homosexuality came via Reagan’s America: in other words, we were vectors of plague and immorality. To be sure, I was a good church boy, a good son, and a good student—it was what was expected of me. But I felt lonely, isolated—like an outcast. There was this part of me that I couldn’t really define or understand. From every angle, I was told that I wasn’t even supposed to like that part of me; and, like a good churchgoing son and student, I didn’t. This was before YouTube and “It Gets Better” and Gay-Straight Alliances. There were no advocates for gay and lesbian youth in the Tulsa Public School system in the 1980s. And there was no advocate for gays in either the church or my home or in the impoverished neighborhood that surrounded me.

I had probably heard Whitney’s first two singles, but paid them little attention; however, it was her cover of “The Greatest Love of All” that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It was a song that got into my bones. The lyrics and the passion with which Whitney sang them made me think that I could eventually love myself. To be sure, there wasn’t anything in the song that explicitly affirmed being gay. However, it really spoke to my sense of estrangement and alienation and, in a way, told me that things do get better—if I trusted myself. It would take a while longer for me to actually internalize that message, but I think that hearing this song was a start. Because “secular” music was forbidden at home, I would wait until my mother had gone to sleep so I could watch a music video program in hopes of catching the video for the song. The video itself was a visual representation of what I hoped would be a life beyond those present circumstances.

Soon enough, I got out of the ‘hood, went to college, and eventually came out. I was still a big fan of Whitney’s, but “The Greatest Love of All” receded into the background, replaced by deep house music and acid jazz and neo-soul R&B. Her newer material didn’t move me the way her earlier work had. In the meantime, Whitney had become a punchline, a sad joke in the wake of her drug use, tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, and declining career. People like Kelly Price, Faith Evans, and Mariah Carey had supplanted Whitney. And then there was Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and current mega-star Beyoncé Knowles. I’d lament the loss of the old Whitney—or, as I would call her, “pre-crack Whitney.” I’d put Whitney’s songs on my iPod and iPhone, but as part of a “Very Best of” playlist. I’d play “Saving All My Love” and “You Give Good Love,” but hardly ever play “The Greatest Love of All.”

Now, she’s gone. And for the first time in a long, long while, I put the song on. I had forgotten what that song meant to me—it was an anthem of self-affirmation, perseverance, and survival. And it reminded me of why I love music. Songs like this spoke to me in a way that few other things in my life did. And I thought about the person I think I’ve become and how, when I’d listen to the song or see the video, I hoped to be the kind of person who could rely on himself and “never walk in anyone’s shadow.” I think I have become that—and the tears I shed today were for that past that Whitney’s version of “The Greatest Love of All” got me through.

So today, I am mourning Whitney Houston’s death. I am mourning the loss of such a phenomenal voice that could turn ordinary lyrics into classics. I feel like Whitney’s death signaled the death of another part of my past—and while I’m glad that I am the person I want to be, part of me will always miss that past when Whitney’s songs were new and fresh and her voice harbored the promise of better tomorrows.

Rest in peace, Whitney.