Monday, July 31, 2006

BlogHer '06 Reflections

One of the best moments of BlogHer '06, held in San Jose over the weekend, was during Saturday's closing session featuring Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post. J. Craig Williams, creator of a blog called "May It Please The Court," stood up during the Q&A and asked, "What can we [male bloggers] do to help you?"

I'm sure he was sincere in his intent, but after a weekend of female empowerment, his question came off as patronizing. You could almost hear 700 women rolling their eyes.

The answer he got, though, was worth listening to the question.

"Stop putting together so many damn lists!" yelled out a woman in the audience. "The top 10 this, the top 10 that. That's all male bloggers do. There are never any women bloggers on those lists."

The ballroom erupted in applause.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Talking with Kim at BlogHer '06

I sat down with my friend, Kim Pearson, a seasoned blogger who is a professor of English and journalism at The College of New Jersey to talk about the power of blogging.

Blog, Sex, Stay at Home Moms

Think that the aforementioned headline, with those keywords, will get me at the top of a Google page view? Maybe. That is just one of the strategies I learned about how to get more site traffic at the BlogHer '06 conference in San Jose over the weekend.

I absorbed so much information that I have to download myself. Suffice it to say, Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort and Jory Des Jardins have started something special with BlogHer, an online community for women bloggers. Over 700 strong in San Jose, for the conference's second year.

The most interesting part of the weekend? Meeting the wonderful folks who influence opinion and ignite discourse with blogs such as Mochamomma (shout out to my girl Kelly, heck yes hair is political!) Liza at Culture Kitchen; Negrophile (hey George, my fellow povocateur in print), Tiffany B. Brown (not be confused with Tiff Black, a former Inky online editor), Fizzle (prayers that your adoption in Ethiopia goes well, Fizz); and my dear friend Kim Pearson, who is the person who encouraged me to blog in the first place.

And as soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll give all my new pals some link love on a blog roll.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Weekend Pick

If you're into the type of offbeat, stylized thriller, the kind Quentin Tarantino makes, then make it a bankable first weekend for Philly homeboy Lee Daniels and see Shadowboxer, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Dame Helen Mirren. You'll also be riveted by performances by Macy Gray and funny girl Mo'Nique, as you've never seen her before.

On Saturday, check out Reelblack's First Weekend Party in honor of Shadowboxer at Fluid, 613 South 4th Street, in Philadelphia. Show your ticket stub from the film and save $2 on admission to the party.

I'll be back online 7/28, blogging from the Blogher conference in San Jose.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Long Time No See, Mr. President!

For the first time in five years, President Bush addressed the NAACP convention. It certainly didn't go unnoticed that George W. graces the nation's oldest civil rights organization with his presence at the very time the Voting Rights Act extension is about to cross his desk. Tavis Smiley made that point on The Tom Joyner Morning Show today; Sharpton rebutted President Bush's speech afterward.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No, I'm Oprah's Lesbian Lover!

How absurd is it to think just because Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have been friends for 30 years that they are gay? That assumption presupposes that the only deep and abiding relationships women have with each other are sexual.

I'm here to tell you women don't think like men. They think with their minds and with their hearts. I have four best friends I've known since kindergarten. Denise, Sherry, Dianne and Sandy have been my girls since the dark ages, and we're as close today as we were then.

Even though it sounds a little spacey, I truly understand Oprah's otherworldly quote. How to carry on would be my earthly challenge if I ever lost one of my friends.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Weekend Pick

Don't forget, tomorrow night: Cedie!

See you Monday.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Racist? Game Over

This was the photo for the ad Sony ran in the Netherlands for its new PlayStation Portable White video game. Needless to say, the billboards were yanked after an international outcry.

At the very least it's insensitive. At most? In my book, anything that harkens back to the days of legal white-black subjugation has got to go.

A Victory for Black Gay Bloggers

It seems when bloggers organize, things get done. This press release came into my mailbox yesterday from Keith Boykin, a popular author and pundit:

Black Gay Bloggers Win Victory; LIFEbeat Cancels Anti-Gay AIDS Concert

Black lesbian and gay bloggers are declaring a small victory in the fight against homophobia today.

After a 48 hour protest against LIFEbeat, the music industry’s AIDS organization, and its decision to use homophobic reggae artists Beenie Man and TOK, LIFEbeat today released a statement that it is canceling its concert. LIFEbeat cited “the possibility of violence” as the reason for canceling the concert and not the use of anti-gay reggae artists.

“While we are extremely pleased that our efforts paid off, we want to make it perfectly clear to LIFEbeat and others, that no threats of violence were ever made against LIFEbeat’s staff and board of directors, nor the concert,” commented Jasmyne Cannick, activist and blogger. “Our campaign was simply to educate LIFEbeat about the history of the performers that they choose and to make them aware of the recent murders of gay people in the Caribbean. We did this through emails, blogging, phone calls, and faxes from all over the world.”

Author Keith Boykin added, “LIFEbeat still fails to address the issue of homophobia and its connection to the spread of HIV/AIDS.” He continues, “While we support the mission of LIFEbeat to educate our youth about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, we cannot support the use of blatantly homophobic recording artists to achieve that mission.”

“LIFEbeat has basically chosen to cop-out and blame us for their ill-considered decision to use these artists in the first place,” commented D.C. blogger Terrence Heath.

The concert was scheduled to take place at New York’s Webster Hall on July 18. Activists are now calling on LIFEbeat to move on with a new concert using gay-friendly artists and to donate the proceeds to J-FLAG, The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays founded by the late Brian Williamson who was murdered for being gay in 2004.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mack's Party 4 Peace: Mark Your Calendar

It's no secret: gun violence is real. In Philly's African American neighborhoods it's reached pandemic porportions.

Philadelphia promoter Charlie Mack is doing his part to stop the violence with his Party 4 Peace weekend, slated to kick off July 21. Mack, the gentle giant who spent a decade as Will Smith's personal assistant, has enlisted his former boss and lovely wife Jada to host the event, which includes a march for peace, a party and a celebrity basketball game.

If there's one thing we've learned from past years it's that when Mack promises star power, he delivers. The list of glitterati coming to town reads like a who's who from UPN's primetime lineup, as well as A-listers such as Queen Latifah and Regina King.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Where's the Philly Groove?

My basketball jones is hanging over me like humidity in July. It's bad enough that the Sixers didn't make the playoffs, but there doesn't even seem to be a basketball presence in this town.

Maybe that's because Philly's basketball presence has taken his groove elsewhere. Once again, Allen Iverson will host his Celebrity Classic not in Philadelphia, but in Washington D.C. area starting Friday. He'll host a softball and celebrity basketball game, with the proceeds going to benefit underprivileged kids in D.C. and the Hampton Roads, VA area. Philly wasn't even an afterthought.

Could this be yet another omen that A.I. will be out of a Sixers uniform next season? (Place a heavy *sigh* here).

Meanwhile, in Miami, Alonzo Mourning hosts his 10th annual Zo's Summer Groove, which has raised $5 million for charities that aid children at risk. This year's star performer? Gloria Esteban and the Miami Sound Machine.

Zo's a free agent after earning a well-deserved ring with the NBA champion Miami Heat. He deserves to retire in a Heat uniforn.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hello? Is it Lionel Richie You're Looking For?

Had a real fun interview with Lionel Richie today. His new album, Coming Home, is due to drop later this month; his new single "I Call it Love" is already getting R&B radio rotation. He's due to perform with Fantasia at the "Welcome America" celebration in Philadelphia tonight.

Yeah, I know most folks see him as Nicole Richie's dad. But I'm a Commodores' fan from way back. I used to have "Brickhouse" as my ring tone and whenever I hear "Zoom" on the radio, I fly away to another time and place.

And by the way? He's 57, newly single and doesn't look a day over, say, 49. And he still rocks that jet black Gheri curl.

Here's the Cliff Notes version of what we talked about:

On why we will never hear him rap: "I tried to freestyle and it was so hard to do. The [young producers] said, 'Mr. Richie you won't make any money doing that.' That's when I realized it was an art form.

On Nicole conquering her heroin addiction: "I told her the only person who can save Nicole is Nicole. And she decided she wanted to do it and never looked back and I'm proud of her."

On being beloved in Iraq: "At first I thought it was a joke. And then the people on Nightline called me....The Shiites, Sunnis and Curds don't agree and they don't really like America....They asked them, 'What is it about America that you do like?' And they said Lionel Richie! I said, 'Lionel Richie?!'"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dom Perignon is Hard to Rhyme

At his Radio City Music Hall concert on last week, Jay-Z vowed to expunge all references to Cristal champagne in his songs. This came on the heels of 'Hova announcing his intention to boycott the expensive bubbly because of indifferent comments made by Cristal execs that Jay interpreted as racist.

But at times during the concert, Jay forgot to replace the Cristal lyrics. In a story in today's New York Times, Jay-Z explained that sometimes during a performance, he gets so deep into the flow that he operates on an "unconscious" level.

This days, he says, he's sipping Perignon and Krug blush wines. "I hope they're cool with us drinking it," Jay-Z says, "because I don't want to go through this again."

Here's some Jay-Z songs with "Cristal" lyrics. If you can insert appropriate substitutes, then maybe you should give Jay-Z a ring.


After the show it's the after party then
After the party it's the hotel lobby and
After the Belvee then it's probably Cris'
And after the original it's probably this (Fiesta)
Yes ma, Bed-Stuy, Fiesta

In My Lifetime (Remix)

All chicks is hollerin bout chica, the whole city's buzzin
wasn't checkin for me a dozen or so, months ago
Now I'm all they know, I'm a person
Lettin the Cristals breathe at the Barnacle Bar
Under my sleeve, vernacular, 50 G's
I'm talkin big cheese, you gotta be down to dig these, uhh

I Just Wanna Love You (Give It to Me)

You wanna see how far I'ma go
How, much I'ma spend but you already know
Zip, zero, stingy with dinero
Might buy you Cris', but that about it
Might light your wrist, but that about it