Tuesday, February 28, 2006

t-HYPE Don't Play That!

[My boys over at Superspade posted on this. I wanted to NOT mention it but I can't resist. ]

In a desperate attempt to _________ (<--fill in the blank), for over a year now, Damon Wayans has been fighting to trademark a line of clothing called, "Nigga." Presently, the people over at the trademark office have more sense than he does and have NOT given their approval to such foolishness. For reasons too numerous to mention, I'm not particularly offended at this idea. I just think it's dumb. Homey the Clown was funny. Nigga Clothing is just stupid. Besides, some guy in SC already beat him to it.

The only reason I even bring it up is because the folks over at blackinformant.com made me laugh out loud with the following scenarios:

#1 Suzie and Marsha (two white suburban stay-at-home mothers talking in the parking lot): “Marsha, how about a bite to eat? I heard that place next to niggas is supposed to be good.”
Now enter a very pissed off black man who:
-just finished watching Rosewood, Native Son, Roots, and just happened to catch the clip of A Soldier’s Story where Sarge is beat up by two white men.
-Found out that he lost his winning lotto ticket in Katrina
just happens to park his car nearby. Guess the only one word he just heard?—LAWSUIT followed by a planned boycott from a “community leader”.

#2 A new employee who happens to be white working in a Department store, is asked by a customer who happens to be black, “Where can I find the latest urban wear?” and with that the overly anxious to please employee replies, “The Nigga line of clothing is located over there”. Bring out the SWAT team, Jessie and AL and marches on several major cities.
Dumb actions bring about dumb results. I hope Mr. Wayans gets embarrassed enough to think of a better idea. Maybe Pops will give him a buttwhoopin...

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

I just ordered Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai today! I've already seen it more than once. The only reason I didn't order it earlier is because I was scared I'd watch it everyday. How did you conquer your fear? you ask. I didn't. I just decided not to worry about it.

Right now, I'm just trying to appreciate the beautiful creation that God has given us.

I have been lax in posting this weekend! I spent Friday night and Saturday in the ATL--the Black Mecca. I'm not in love with Atlanta nearly as much as So. Cal but the city definitely boasts some of the most beautiful black people anywhere. Black people have style in Atlanta. I could go on and on but I'll stop now.

I used the trip as an excuse to see an old friend, and in many ways, behaved like the old goofballs we were in college. The actual purpose for my visit however, was to check out the Urban Mediamakers mini-workshop on screenwriting. I am a closet screenwriter. It's hard to call yourself an actual screenwriter if you do not get paid for your writing and don't even have any full length scripts completed. My writing is good, (other people have told me this), but it's not where it needs to be yet. According to said workshop, after following said steps, I should have a completed screenplay in three weeks. Um, I'll let you know how that goes...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Blackness, meet Bollywood

Will Smith has caught the vision! The former Fresh Prince is visiting India to help launch Sony’s new English-language movie channel (Pix) and, according to reports is hyped up about the Indian film industry.

The actor said he had been "blown away" by the performance of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan - also known as Big B - in the film Sarkar. "I was very impressed with his acting and have decided that from today onwards, I will be known as Big W." -Indo Asian News Service
On the industry:
"I want to educate myself as much as possible. I also want to explore the possibility of a collaboration between both the film industries." -Hindustan Times
Somebody please make sure his education includes the 411 about the Bollymafia. Will ain't never hurt nobody!
In this quote the truth came out. Ish! It's all Aish...
He also gushed that he was a fan of Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai, a former miss world. 'She has a powerful energy. She doesn't have to say anything, she doesn't have to do anything. Whatever she wants to make, I'm there.' -BBC News
I can't hate on a brotha. I got sucked in pretty much the same way...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Adrian Brody and Kunal Kapoor - Cousins

Why does Kunal Kapoor look like a hot version of Adrian Brody?

Meanwhile, Back in Bollywood...

I decided, after being challenged by a reader to do so, to find some older Bollywood films to watch. I decided on Kabhi Kabhie (1976), a love story, and Sholay (1975), an action-type flick, both of which predate my existance. Unbeknowst to me, the Sean Connery of India himself, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was in both movies. [Which, is exactly why I didn't pick two Yash Raj films. I was hoping to see some new faces...]

At any rate, I'm beginning to believe that brown skin fell out of fashion in Bollywood somewhere between the late 70's and the present. [I mean seriously, I need to watch a few more films but it looks like even the bad guys are avoiding sunshine these days. Heck, Mr. Bachchan himself looks lighter than he once did but maybe they only film during winter....]

Both films suffer from a bad case of the '70s, which simply means that the production quality (mostly sound) and fashion sense are remarkably indicative of the time period. Kabhi Kabhie was pretty decent and I really liked Sholay. I plan to post proper reviews later on but until then I must beg the question, Does Amitabh Bachchan appear better as an old man or young one? Either way, he's aging far better than Marlon Brando ever did.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am an Uppity Negro

Note the sleeve slogan: "We don't pick cotton!"Okay, besides snowboarding, this is what I want for my birthday on March 5. (Not the guy, the t-shirt! On second thought, I'll take both if they're free.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Side Note: When Spanking is Not Enough

Courtesy of Rupa. Posted on Sepia Munity.

February, 1989. Some Midwestern highway. Vehicle carrying boisterous kids and 2 weary parents.

Dad loses patience and makes good on his threat to pull over and administer corporal punishment.

15 minutes later. Back on the road. Sulky silence. Then the oldest child defiantly chortles, “I was wearing my snow pants!! I didn’t feel anything!! HA!”
Ha Ha Ha!!! You know those parents were TICKED off.

I love flash fiction!

The Return of Mr. T

The other night my roommate and I were talking about Mr. T's fabulous foray into rapping. While "Treat your Mother Right" is indeed a treat, attempting to watch it more than twice is like eating an entire cheesecake by yourself. You can only enjoy so much.

In order to test this theory, I am now including what I believe to be the pièce de résistance, Stylin' with Mr. T. Let me know what you think, more cheesecake or less...

Ms. Black Bollywood or: How I Learned to Stop Trippin' and Love Indian Films

I never did explain how I feel into fascination with Indian pop culture…

As a schoolchild, I harbored a hidden curiosity about my few Indian classmates. They were brown like me but judging by their straight, shiny hair, and the fact that a couple of them didn’t realize that leaving your house ashy is NEVER okay, I knew they were definitely not “black.” I remember riding with a fellow debate team member as she partially apologized for the bhangra track she was pumping. “I love this song. It’s from this Indian film,” she explained. “It’s---you wouldn’t really understand.” That moment has stayed with me forever. My Hindi ain’t that good but try me. Then there was the lament of a Taiwanese collegemate about the beauty of Indian boys and their utter inaccessibility if for no other reason than graciousness because after college their parents were going to pair them off anyway…

Moving on…My interest was rekindled after meaning to see Monsoon Wedding, seeing Bend It Like Beckham and thinking, those were pretty good but they couldn’t be the real thing because my film production professor had said that the films were very long and when he went to the theater in India there was an intermission where people ate lunch they brought from home which was often curry chicken.

All that foolishness brings me to the point. My then boyfriend came across a film on Netflix called Dil Se which appeared to be rated highly. After browsing a bit and realizing that Sharukh guy was in 1 out of every 4 films, he knew he had found a star. One remarkably explosive ending later, I was on the hunt. I was babysitting for a Filipino friend whose husband is Indian and gave her a play-by-play of Dil Se. “Really? You liked that?” she asked. “I haven’t seen that one but we have Main Hoon Na, Mohabbatein," etc., etc. Score! “My mother-in-law really likes this one,” she said as she handed me Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. That is how I was introduced to my Bollywood Boyfriend Numero Uno and how I learned to stop trippin' and love Indian films.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Shani Davis - First Black Athlete to Win Gold at the Winter Olympics

"No, no. I'm okay...I had just hoped that one of MY kids would be the first black athelete to get gold at the winter olympics...What?...No. I don't have any kids--the kids that I'm GOING to have...Well, yeah. Snowboarding, of course..." Sorry. The REAL posting is below...

From the New York Times:

He won a world all-around championship last year, holds the world record in the 1,000 and seemed poised for Olympic stardom.
Congrats! That was Shani Davis and this was another Black History moment.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Bible in Little Plastic Pieces

Okay, I have to admit, Americans have too much time on their hands...

This crazy athiest guy has a pretty funny site. For the most part, he just uses the LEGOs to illustrate what the Bible stories talk about. Those of you who've read the Old Testament know that life back in the day was no joke. This is not for the children. Let me repeat: You DO NOT want to have to explain to your children why Lot's daughters got him drunk... That said, no worries, the "Reverend Brendan Powell Smith" might be an athiest but he has enough respect to put ratings on the stories so you'll know before hand if any LEGOs get naked, cursed, or killed. You could always just read the other ones. Check out his site here.
The fact that he's an athiest might explain why he makes most of the characters look so angry...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Do these people look strange to you?

The FX Network is launching a new show called Black. White. on March 8 and I am wishing I had cable! (Somebody TiVo and torrent this please...) Basically, as I read in the New York Times article, the program is about a black family-the Sparks, and a white family-the Marcotullis, (yes, Italians are white), who are trading faces. heh heh! They had some REALLY good makeup artists in on this one. (In case you're slow, the white folks are on the right...)

This quote from the Marcotullis' daughter makes me say "duh":

"I was kind of surprised to find that I learned more about this invisible barrier than I thought actually existed," said Ms. Bloomfield, now an 18-year-old aspiring actress. After participating in a rap poetry group and "coming out" as white to the black performers, she discovered that the group treated her differently.
You know they were like, "Oh, H- to the NAW! We can't have NOTHIN'!"

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Okay, okay, I'm probably a little late on this but I just saw David LaChapelle's documentary RIZE. I wasn't sure what to expect because, well, I just wasn't. It's a completely new dance style in a documentary made by a lil' white man whose only work I had seen was an Elton John video.

I'm happy to say that I liked it. I was pretty suprised not only by the dancing but by these kids' strong faith and their willingness to admit that it's only because of God that they're not in a gang or dead. It's not every day that you hear thugged out brotha's talking about God (unless it's Cross Movement). If nothing else, watch the film to see a thugged out brotha doing an interpretive dance in church on Sunday. THAT is something you don't see--ever.

Judging by Mr. LaChapelle's other work, I wouldn't have guessed that was the point of the film but he gave a lot of voice and respect to the fact that most of the kids he talked to were Christians. In fact, one of the guys is a licensed minister now. It was a very unexpected twist on such a raw dance form.

Here's the trailer. It doesn't really capture the essence of what I like about it but it at least shows off the dance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

People Hate Bollywood?!?

Again, folks over at Sepia Mutiny have gotten my attention with post entitled, (horror of horrors!): Why They Hate Bollywood.

As I was indoctrinating one of my white friends during our viewing of K3G last night, I mentioned that there were tons of Indians who hated Bollywood films. “Really?” she asked, with a tone of voice expressing the wonderment of disbelief after having taken in the lusciously melodramatic display before us. I explained it’s somewhat similar to the way I have difficulty relating to films like Boyz n the Hood. It doesn’t reflect my lifestyle or interests the way a film like Something New does. “Oh,” she replied. “I cried all the way through Boys n the Hood.” To each their own...

Folks, rest assured. Bollywood will never die. I just got two more people hooked last night! Muuhuuuhaahaaaa! <---*evil laugh*

It’s something like cotton candy—lots of colors, larger than life and nothing but sugar and air. Yum!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

SHOUT OUT - Ryan Conferido & SickStep

This post is neither related to beliefs, blackness nor Bollywood but I have to give a shout out to my boy Ryan Conferido who came all the way out to the 'Ville with a couple of his boys from SickStep just to perform at a Valentine's Coffeehouse a few friends were throwing yesterday. The very thought that people would want to leave So. Cal to spend a weekend in Nashvegas is baffling to me but we really appreciated having them.

For those of you unawares, Ryan was on the first season of the Fox program, So You Think You Can Dance and he held his own pretty well. Unfortunately, some studio-trained pretty boy ran home with the grand prize but it's all good. Ryan has a great heart. He's multitalented, a Christian, and will undoubtedly be successful in whatever he decides to do.

Drop him a line at his myspace page here. In case you were wondering, he does give lessons...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Man-Friendly B, B & B

In an attempt to make my site more man-friendly, I have removed the bare-to-the-lower-waist photo of John Abraham in my previous post. In my defense, it’s hard to find a respectable picture of John. There’s the PETA ads, the modeling shoots. He always showin how his body be glissenin. [View previously posted photo here.] I suppose that’s why deep down inside, even though he has three thumbs, Hrithik is my Bollywood boyfriend numero uno. Modesty counts fellas!

Despite his immodesty and living unmarried with his girlfriend for YEARS, he is not totally amoral. He doesn’t believe in one-night stands. You can read the interview here.


I don’t think I’ve yet mentioned here how much I love PBS. Public television, the Amazing Race and Bollywood are the only reasons I even have a television these days…

At any rate, there was this FABULOUS documentary on the other night called African American Lives. It was led by historian/author Henry Louis Gates, Jr. the head of Harvard University's Afr0-American studies program. I would have missed the whole thing except my mom called me and mentioned it was on.

All I saw was like the last 10 minutes where this scientist explaining how they can tell what percentage of your DNA was African, Asian, etc. Then they could tell you which tribal group your DNA most closely matches. I’m like, “shut up!” That’s really cool stuff!

The previous episode showed where he searched genealogies for himself, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Tucker, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Dr. Mae Jemison (astronaut), author/historian Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, and Bishop T.D. Jakes. I managed to tape that one. It was so amazing to see how people reacted to the information because he gave them a scrapbook with copies of whatever documentation they were able to find. So of course Oprah was crying (I don’t blame her) when she saw a record that listed her great, great, great grandparents in a slave census without any names, just age and gender.

Every black person should definitely check this out. It’s one of the more encouraging Black History Month pieces I’ve seen. No need to worr’ bout ole massa here. Its bout us!

The documentary is available from PBS for $34.99 or if you’re like me and think you would enjoy it more in three months when it’s $18.69, try Amazon.com. Until then, check out the Geneology Guide that Mr. Gates put together. It will help explain what he the nice little old white ladies had to do to find all the information.

Friday, February 10, 2006

t.HYPE Loves Bollywood TOO!

This girl Beth makes me laugh. Like myself, she's all about Bollywood, and is not Indian. She's totally got me beat though. I mean, I'll have to watch like a film a day to catch up with her. (Or at least every other day, stopping at the intermission on the first day and picking up in act two on the second day...)

I think my next film will be her self-professed favorite, Taal.

Lagaan B+

Aamir Khan

Ashutosh Gowarikar

Star Cast
Aamir Khan ...... Bhuvan
Gracy Singh ...... Gauri
Rachel Shelly ...... Elizabeth Russell
Paul Blackthorne ...... Captain Andrew Russell

Here’s the oh-so-dry summary from Yahoo Movies : Farmer Bhuvan and his love Gauri live in the small village of Champaner in North India in 1890s. They, like the rest of their community, struggle to live off their harvests. When a brute-like British army captain challenges the locals to a cricket match, they fail to realize just how high the stakes are. One of the conditions of the game is that the loser will be burdened with a heavy, if not crippling, land tax. Although poor, the villagers are people of self-respect. Led by Bhuvan they are ready to take on the Britons despite their ignorance of the game.

I prefer, “Amidst abject poverty and the toil of heavy labor, a revolutionary spirit is planted in the parched land of a small Indian village. Watered by the tears of overburdened farmers, and cultivated by the relentless Bhuvan, its roots grow unnoticed by the ruling British until they are forced to eat the bitter fruit of their demise.” [No applause necessary. Thank you.]

Ratings Breakdown
· Story - A
The story was really tight! That was a surprise. It took a few minutes to kick off but the second half was extremely focused. [After watching the deleted scenes on the DVD, they definitely made the right choice.]
· Acting - A
I loved the guys in this. There was definitely a depth of emotion that doesn’t get expressed in very many films, Indian or otherwise. There was a palpable sense of agony over every loss during the match.
· Songs - C+
To be fair, I should probably go back and listen to them again. It’s just that, aside from the temple song that began with the women and the song during the performance, (which only got my attention because of the performance), nothing grabbed my attention. I may have even fastforwarded…
· Dancing - B
I did see a few technically surprising moves in there but I do mean “a few”…
· Visual Stunning - B+
The visual elements in this film weren’t so much stunning as they were honest. If things are dry, they’re dry. There wasn’t a whole lot of overly self-conscious cinematography in this film and for that I am thankful. At the same time, it left me longing for a little more Bollywood luster.

Western Mind Rating - A+
Lagaan is probably one of the easiest Bollywood films for the uninitiated Western mind. It focuses on sports, features the underdog “sticking it to the man” (very American), and has lots of white people. It’s no wonder this film was nominated for the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film! Even the transitions into song and dance are more Broadway than Bollywood: characters sing because they’re in a play, or because they’re worshipping, or as they begin a “Rocky-like” fitness routine. This the Western mind can understand. Besides, am I the only one who thinks that Aamir Khan looks like a really tan white man…

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Iranian Eye Candy (Another reason to love Bollywood)

I still haven't seen any of his films yet, but look at him, I'm sure he's a great actor.

John Abraham
1/2 Iranian, 1/2 Indian
100% FINE!
Indian Actor
Indian Supermodel

There's just something about them Persian boys...

The Personal Nature of God (Part I)

I had been wanting to jot down some notes about the personal nature of God for some time now. And after reading this post on angry Muslims, skimming over 150 comments on Sepia Munity and saying my piece today, I am finally motivated to complete the post:

I had been thinking on and off again about Jesus' first public declaration where he reads the words of Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God

Christ put himself in a very unique position. Here was the God of the Universe declaring that he had come to earth to give, to heal, and to free. Does anyone else on the planet find absolutely amazing? I’m still trying very hard to wrap my mind around that one.

One of the notable things about Jesus’ time on earth is the only time he displayed anger was with religious hypocrisy. [Link] He knocked down tables and scared the mess out of a bunch of folks at the local temple because they were using it to rip people off instead of for worship and prayer. The next thing he did was heal some sick people and hug some kids.

That's a God worth knowing and worth defending. Truth is, He is real and in the end, He'll defend himself.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bollywood Reviews for the (Western) Non-Indian

I do hereby claim indemnity from any accusations of ignorance or insensitivity by declaring that the film reviews that I write have clearly come from the cultural bias of a non-Indian Westerner, who furthermore is a black American and concerned about the representation of brown peoples in general.
In my defense, I do hold several poorly written American films close to my heart because, after all, these were really good black films and I like them whether or not the real film critics do. (ex. Diary of a Mad Black Woman) My taste in Bollywood is somewhat similar so hold on to your hats...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Black History Month - To America's Cultural Orphans

To America's Cultural Orphans
a people without a language
a people without a homeland
a people without a undisputed past
and an uncertain future

To these people, my people, the black American descended from African slaves, I say, "Celebrate!"

We are the most influential orphans in the world! With a borrowed language we wrote songs: created gospel, blues, jazz and rock & roll.

Silently, unacknowledged and unappreciated, upon the strength of our backs and the tears of our pain, the greatest country in modern history was built.

The strength of an athelete in competition
the energy of a dancer in performance
the eloquence of an orator behind the pulpit or in politics
THIS is our culture.
THIS is our heritage.
These things we retain.

The clothing we wear, the styles of our hair, the way that we talk, the way that we walk, constantly imitated but never really duplicated.

So, celebrate freedom.
Celebrate influence.
And please, don't let orphanhood keep your freedom or your influence from increasing.

Happy "Black History Month."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Because it's hot!

Basically, the folks over at BollyWHAT? summed it up for me here.

There is something remarkably attractive about this differentiated masculinity that allows a man to both dance and fight, be well dressed yet not "brokeback," to love a woman but yet be willing to submit that love to the authority of parents, to look at her, burning with passion, while wind, water and fire beckon, yet to be satisfied with only the scent of her skin...

Oh, the agony of idealized romance!!!