EntertainmentSnob, He Said/She Said, MediaSnob, PopCulturalist

Question of the Day: Sex and the Workplace

When I worked at a newspaper I used to joke with some of my co-workers that without The Bakersfield Californian some of my cohorts would find a date. I knew plenty of people who dated, broke up and even married within the newsroom. I didn’t date at work because, well, I like to keep things separated if at all possible. But with men and women being human and working together in close and sometimes horny confides relationships and couplings (and the occasional sexual harassment lawsuit) are bound to happen.

More after the jump.

Enter the case of late night talk show host David Letterman, recently blackmailed for about $2 million dollars by a fellow CBS staffer, threatening to reveal a sexual affair Letterman had with an employee. Other than the fact that Letterman is a married man I don’t quite get the shock over this “scandal.” If having sex with co-workers were scandalous, my word, they’d have to lock up half the journalists I’ve befriended over the years, just about every thespian I know who treated musical theater like sex camp and they’d have to re-impeach Bill Clinton. You’d think Monica-gate would have killed any fascination anyone ever had with a person having some kind of sex, on the job, with a subordinate, but apparently it has not.

I think dating on the job can cause muy problemas as Letterman is fast learning, so I almost always advise against it unless you’re both on equal footing (re: please try not to screw or be screwed by your boss) and are willing to have the whole office all up in your Kool-Aid. Sometimes workplace romances can work out great (see President and First Lady), ending in marriage. Sometimes it just ends in a huge blow up, anger, apathy and mean forwarded emails that manage to make their rounds in everyone’s browser.

What’s your take on sex in the workplace? Is it a do or a never, ever do and what do you think of the Letterman scandal?

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EntertainmentSnob, MediaSnob, Obamarama, PopCulturalist

And In Other News … The President Calls Kanye A Jackass

And hilarity ensued.

From Huffington Post:

During a CNBC interview on Monday, President Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” regarding his behavior at the MTV Video Music Awards. (Watch the video of Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs here and read about his first apology.)

Obama’s colorful remark was actually made in an off-the-record portion of the interview that was tweeted — and then deleted — by ABC News reporter Terry Moran.

“Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential,” Moran wrote.

Politico’s Michael Calderone has ABC’s statement apologizing for Moran’s journalistic breach.

This leak was NOT supposed to come out. I heard about it through a little birdy Monday and was told I COULD NOT report on it, but some bon mots are too tasty to pass up and apparently Moran could not resist the image of the president, cussing, in reference to resident Man In Constant State of Mental Breakdown Kanye West. Maybe he was mad at how Ye was representing his adopted home state of Illinois?

More after the jump.

Kanye went on Jay Leno’s show Monday night to apologize to Taylor Swift and for his behavior at the MTV Video Music Awards. West bumrushed the show that night when Swift won for best female video, grabbing the mic and announcing that Beyonce should have won for her video “Single Ladies.” Beyonce looked mortified and later let Swift finish her acceptance speech when Beyonce won for Video of the Year.

West became emotional when Leno asked him how his mother, Donda West, would have responded to his latest outburst. Donda West, as many of you know, died earlier last year.

From Huffington Post:

“So many celebrities, they never take the time off,” he said. “I’ve never taken the time off to really — you know, just music after music and tour after tour. I’m just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else’s hurt. My dream of what awards shows are supposed to be, ’cause, and I don’t try to justify it because I was just in the wrong. That’s period. But I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I’m going to make it through the rest of this life, how I’m going to improve.”

Can we just have an intervention for the man, already? Like the entirety of hip hop and black people to just go, “Brah, put down the Henny. You’re ruining your life.” I sincerely hope he takes some time off and gets himself together.

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EntertainmentSnob, MediaSnob, PopCulturalist

MTV’s VMAs Gave Me Brain Damage, Thanks Kanye

First the good.

Janet Jackson put it down for her brother at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night. She was incredible and I, already a JJ fan, had ever more respect for her ability to put on such a performance so soon after her brother’s passing, performing the only song the two ever recorded together, “Scream.” (It’s really a shame they didn’t do more music together.) Janet is a phenomenal dancer and performer in her own right and it’s amazing that both those people came out of one very multitalented family.

Now for the incredibly mind-numbingly stupid, Jay-Z swagger humping via Beyonce, circus-like bitchfest that is Kanye West. Seriously, Ye. Why do you make it so hard for me to love you?

More after the jump.

What is this? Again. I don’t understand this. AGAIN. The Guardian UK did a break down of all the times Mr. West has lost his shit at either award shows or online (click here for the entire West Freak Out Opus). I honestly didn’t understand this blatant display of shine-jacking, this time the target a tiny, pretty little country/western singer whose songs annoy me because they play 9 billion times a day on the radio. I mean, I was rooting for Pink to win the Moonman for best female video, not Taylor Swift and her annoyingly uptempo country-pop ballad “You Belong To Me,” but hey, she’s a kid. Most of MTV’s viewers are 12 and 13. It’s a feel good story. Girl with the Nashville sound wins over My Chemical Romance fans. Good for HER. But OF COURSE because Beyonce was also up for the same award for “Single Ladies” and Beyonce is married to Camel Joe, aka Jay-Z, Kanye’s mentor/homie/ace/stalkee, he felt the need to grab the mic from blondie and start screaming out that “Single Ladies” was one of the greatest videos of all time.

Ahem, my dear Famewhore, no. There are several things wrong with this assessment.

1. Single Ladies IS NOT one of the best videos of all time. The dance was catchy, the tune was catchy but the whole thing was just her and two chicks in leotards aping Tina Turner. I still watch the thing waiting for them to do the karate kicks and coming away disappointed. Beyonce has done better videos, namely “Crazy In Love,” the main reason that keeps me from completely hating her as I’m convinced “Crazy In Love” is one of the greatest summer dance jams ever thanks to that pilfered beat courtesy of the Chi-Lites.

2. Please stop kissing Jay’s arse. We get it. You love Jay. Jay helped make you. You think Hov is the greatest of all time. You written songs thanking him for what he’s done for you (which I always thought was mad weird, but whatever, do your thing). You honestly don’t need to invade the space of young white women to get your “I Heart Jay” point across. Please. You don’t have to defend Jay’s woman. Beyonce is more than capable of Sasha Fierce-ing herself and has a bed full of money to comfort her at night. Plus, SHE’S WON THIS AWARD BEFORE! She has Moonmen. So really, we know this was all about Jay and nothing about Bey. I don’t understand why you can’t just Hello Kitty-Lisa Frank bedazzle some sort of Ye and Jay 4-Ever T-shirt, ask him to leave Bey and run away with you to the tune of Let’s Dance by David Bowie, proposing that Jay put on his red shoes and dance away the blues right into your heart or something like that. I understand the concept of “bromance” but this is turning into “bro-obsession.” Please stop.

As for the rest of the VMAs … zzzzzzzzzzzz … Lady GaGa is off her rocker and covered in blood … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. And then the awesomeness that was the trailer for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It,” which will probably make a ka-billion dollars.

Here it is for those who missed it.

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EntertainmentSnob, PopCulturalist, PostRacialist

Tyler Perry And For Colored Girls: Somebody Walked Off Wid Alla (Our) Stuff! (Guest Post)

By Thembi Ford

Getting his hot little hands on Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play “For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” was coup of the year for Tyler Perry. Not only will he produce and direct the upcoming film version, the King of Coonery will also write the adaptation of what may be the most important work about black female identity ever. Ask any black woman, especially the artsy/moody/self-aware type, about “For Colored Girls…” and she will respond with a wistful look and fond memories.

I was Lady in Blue in a high school production and have told more than one sorry dude “insteada being sorry all the time, try being yourself,” quoting the Lady In Red (but playing it off like I came up with it on my own). This is classic material and now we can expect the intentionally stripped-down aesthetic of Shange’s work to be replaced by style choices that only a closeted gay man could make. Even worse, Perry has announced that he’d like to cast the likes of Oprah, Halle Berry, and Beyoncé to tackle the play’s issues, which include love, rape, abortion, and relationships. Beyoncé??? Please pass the Xanax.

More after the jump.

How did we come to such a low point in black entertainment? Sadly, money always talks. Did you know that Tyler Perry’s films have grossed about $319 Million in seven years, while Spike Lee’s have grossed $372 million in twenty-three years? When you account for the inclusion of rather mainstream flicks like Inside Man ($88 mil) in Lee’s canon, Tyler Perry is really in black folks pockets at an alarming speed. We’re going to see his movies in droves and I just cannot figure out why. Maybe it’s easy for whole church buses to go see a Perry flick after Sunday service, maybe we’re just happy to see black folks on-screen no matter what they do, or maybe we don’t have the sense of a Billy goat when it comes to choosing meaningful entertainment – I just don’t know. But the end result is the proliferation of a parade of empty, stereotypical characters, humor so dry it could sop up Jermaine Jackson’s hairdo, and the persistent depiction of black women whose lives are not complete unless they can find and hold onto a good black man. When we begged for greater representation on-screen, this is not what we had in mind.

Can I go back to Beyoncé and the meds I’ll need to watch her act again, especially in such a groundbreaking piece? It’s hard for me to even write about it because my thumbs have spontaneously become paralyzed into the DOWN position. First of all, I haven’t forgotten Beyoncé notifying the world that she’s not black, she’s Creole, which is the exact OPPOSITE of the “For Colored Girls…” message. Let’s also not forget that Beyoncé CANNOT act. I’ve given her too many chances to demonstrate that she can, and after watching her try to squeeze out tears while trying not to look directly into the camera I’ve concluded that the only role she’d excel in is an adaptation of Pinocchio – on camera, the girl looks like she’s made of wood. Her clumsy speech pattern is the stuff that gets folks flunked out of Julliard. There’s something about how her tongue sits in her mouth – its too big, its too wide, its too strong, it won’t fit. Why is this happening, again? Greed. Not just greed for money, but for recognition.

Whether or not Beyoncé ends up in the film, Perry has a special talent for creating the illusion that otherwise credible black actors don’t have enough talent for mystery dinner theater, so I have to consider anything he controls creatively a lost cause. However, as executive producer in a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry sat in the audience for Precious, a film highly praised by critics at the Sundance Film Festival (you may have heard the buzz about excellent performances from Mariah Carey and Mo’Nique). As the audience ooh’d and ahh’d at how creatively stunning it was, Perry scratched his chin and said “Hmmm. I want me some of this.” So now what should be a landmark moment in black female cinema directed by any of the renown black female directors out there – Kasi Lemmon (Eve’s Bayou), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees), Debbie Allen (no explanation needed) or Nzinga Stewart (who was originally slated to direct the film) – is instead sure to fall flat under Perry’s control.

What’s saddest of all to me is that, as much as we can expect Perry to butcher Shange’s work, won’t so many of us feel obligated to see it anyway? Will we bite our tongues and watch, even if just for the sake of criticism and cultural commentary? Or will we consider ourselves lucky to absorb the prose and poetry of “For Colored Girls…” on the big screen for the first time? Should we patronize questionable black films just because they’re intended for us or should we boycott what we suspect is garbage? This is a persistent quandary that those of us interested in thoughtful black entertainment continue to face. Just what is a black woman to do with such a mess? When I ask myself these questions I’m reminded of Shange’s Lady in Green: “bein’ alive, bein’ a woman, and being colored is a metaphysical dilemma/ I haven’t yet conquered.” After thirty-four years at least that much still rings true.

Thembi Ford is the author of the blog What Would Thembi Do?

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EntertainmentSnob, PopCulturalist

MTV VMAs Snark-A-Thon in The Forum Tonight!

Janet Jackson is going to open the MTV Video Music Awards with a tribute to her brother, Michael Jackson and we’ll be yakking up all the festivities, the clothes, the music, the performances and the tribute at The Black Snob’s Forum! (blacksnob.ning.com) You can join in! Not a member of The Forum yet? Just click over to the main site and sign up! The VMAs pre-show starts at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. central with the awards show starting an hour later. Be there or be someplace else enjoying life in all its finery!

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