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Daily Dose: 4/7/17

2:30 PMClinton Yates is not here today. He’s currently at the Coca-Cola headquarters, pitching executives on a new ad campaign starring Iggy Azalea.

The Trump administration launched a cruise missile strike against the Syrian government Thursday night. According to ABC News, “59 tomahawk missiles were launched from destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Mediterranean Sea over a half-hour span beginning at 7:36 p.m. ET.” The U.S. military forewarned its Russian counterparts in the area that the airstrike was coming, and reportedly no Syrians were killed. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the attack would not “stop [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad’s ability to carry out future attacks,” according to CNN, so not much can be made of what happened last night.

LaVar Ball is talking … again. The noted loudmouth has been saying insane things for months now, but now he just said something plain stupid. Ball told the Southern California News Group that UCLA, his son Lonzo’s former team, was eliminated from the NCAA tournament last month because “you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.” Aside from that not being true, UCLA lost in part because Lonzo Ball scored just 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting in the team’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky, while Wildcats guard De’Aaron Fox dropped 39 points in his face. And for nonblack people, this doesn’t make LaVar Ball racist, so leave those think pieces in your Drafts folder.

There’s a new All Eyez on Me trailer. The Tupac Shakur biopic looks amazing. From the cast — The Wire‘s Jamie Hector, The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira and Notorious‘ Jamal Woolard, reprising his role as Notorious B.I.G. — to the music to the drama, this movie appears to have it all. Lead actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., who plays the late rapper, makes you think you’re watching a documentary (or a Coachella hologram) rather than a feature film because of his striking resemblance to the titular character. And it appears we’re getting a 360-degree view of Shakur, from his upbringing in New York alongside his Black Panther mother and stepfather to his “California Love” lifestyle as a rap superstar all the way to his premature death at the age of 25. There’s even time to fit in former girlfriend Jada Pinkett Smith. The movie opens on June 17.


Quick notes:

1. An Arizona elementary school was out here stamping kids’ arms for not having enough lunch money.

2. Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn are officially calling it quits.

3. Kendrick Lamar was reportedly supposed to drop an album last night. He did not.

FBI facetiously honors MLK assassination anniversary

But we all can see right through that attempt to reshape history

5:47 PM

Excuse me, what?

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years old. But just because he’s been gone longer than he was alive doesn’t mean that anyone’s forgotten just how harmful a role the FBI played in his life. And not in a positive way. So to see them casually tweeting about his legacy stings because it’s an agency looking to whitewash its past.

A refresher: J. Edgar Hoover himself launched a personal crusade against King, using his position as head of the bureau to follow and harass the civil rights leader and and create a narrative around his life that would make King want to end his cause. There are no small number of people who believe that the FBI effectively harassed King to death. Even for students and the most basic of amateur historians from Twitter to television, this is a known fact.

This was no small campaign. They tried every single thing they could. Sordid details from his personal life were made public in such a way as to discredit his overall operation. Theories about his links to communism were floated. Every official channel at the highest level of the FBI was used against the man at the forefront of the movement trying to make a ripple in society for the better.

You don’t publicly celebrate the anniversary of the death of a man whom your very agency tried to get to commit suicide and for which a civil lawsuit deemed you might actually be responsible. It ain’t all good. Also worth noting: This isn’t the first time they’ve pulled this nonsense. It happened earlier this year on his birthday, a national holiday.

These tactics make what the New York Police Department was doing to #BlackLivesMatter activists in terms of infiltration look small-time in comparison. But in an era in which the White House is trying to find a way to get everyday visitors to the U.S. to turn over their personal information, something the president won’t do himself, it’s a clear indicator of the historical precedent in the intelligence community and how vicious it can be.

The FBI tried to ruin King’s life. They were watching when he was killed. After he delivered one of the most important speeches in the history of this nation, in an internal memo they labeled him as the “most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” Yet, people want to direct others toward him when it comes to lecturing black folks on how to properly act when protesting.

His legacy will be a long one. The memory of those who tried to end it will be longer.

Pepsi severely misses mark with new ad

Kendall Jenner stars in one of the least woke commercials of all time

1:44 PMIeshia Evans certainly didn’t stand for this. On Tuesday afternoon, Pepsi released a new ad starring Kendall Jenner that features her as a model-turned-activist who wins over the heart of a riot officer simply by giving him a can of soda. The think pieces have all been written, and the problem is obvious: Co-opting an actual movement that kills actual black people with a ham-handed attempt to sell soda is insulting.

There’s also the larger issue of, how on earth did this see the light of day? But we all know that the world of advertising isn’t exactly chock-full of black folks making decisions when it comes to imagery. Just look at some of these headlines.

“What the Hell Is This New Pepsi Ad” (Eater)

“Kendall Jenner discovers the true joy of Pepsi comes from ripping off protest movements” (Fusion)

“This Pepsi Spot Is A Frontrunner For Most Tone-Deaf Ad Of 2017” (Digg)

Of course, there are a lot of serious matters to be discussed on this. First off, why are there free sodas at a protest? Secondly, what are they protesting? Third, why is Kendall throwing wigs at black women? And, most importantly, why are people playing cellos?

For now, we’ll stick with the funniest tweets.

Do better, Pepsi. Oh, and shout-out to Alfonso Ribeiro.

Daily Dose: 4/5/17

Bill O’Reilly is feeling the heat

1:07 PMIf you haven’t been listening to the Bronzeville podcast, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s the brainchild of Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate, about the numbers game in 1940s Chicago. Check it out, it’s really good.

Bill O’Reilly’s past is catching up with him. The Fox News talk show host has been a known hothead for years, and now his history with women is finally starting to affect his pockets. You might recall the original video of him freaking out on his crew when he was host of Inside Edition. “We’ll do it live!” became a national catchphrase. So since The New York Times exposed the fact that the network has paid a hefty sum to settle those incidents, companies have pulled ads from his show. It’s up to 22. Also, don’t come for Don Lemon again, Bill.

It’s college acceptance letter season for upstart high schoolers looking to make it. This week has given us two examples of exactly how different the world is when it comes to the different experiences of students in this country. One girl in Chicago was accepted by all eight Ivy League schools, which is a tremendous accomplishment. She hasn’t picked yet. Another kid wrote #BlackLivesMatter 100 times as his essay to get into Stanford and it worked. To be clear, that would never fly with an actual black child.

You have to have goals. Whether it is to finish that master’s degree, clean the gutters or get your taxes done on time, setting them is important. As important to said goals is finding the motivation to get them done. For some, it’s money. For others, it’s the ability to be around family. Whatever it may be, sometimes there are feats that remind you that no matter who you are or how, you can do something. Jamarion Styles draining 3-pointers with no arms is one. This badger burying a cow is another. My goodness.

The NBA’s unwritten rules are getting out of hand. The other night, the Washington Wizards decided they wanted to get huffy about the fact that JaVale McGee threw up a 3 at the end of a 20-point blowout. Sure, it was pointless, but so what? You got crushed. Then, in his triumphant return to Indiana on Tuesday night, Lance Stephenson stirred up some foolishness against the Toronto Raptors. This time, though, it nearly started an actual brawl. I can’t wait until someone gets hurt trying to defend his so-called honor.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you use Bandcamp and/or SoundCloud, you know they are very different. One is way more ratchet than the other for reasons that are hard to really understand. But this meme with artists comparing the two is completely hilarious.

Snack Time: Surely you’ve seen the Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner that everyone’s talking about. But here’s another one that’s pretty darn racist as well, without the two minutes of video required to waste your time.

Dessert: If you’re looking for Latinx podcasts to dive into, here’s a great list.

Daily Dose: 4/4/17

Haters still hating on Deshaun Watson

1:10 PMSorry for being out sick yesterday, gang. The Morning Roast was very NCAA tourney-heavy on Sunday, obviously, but we’ll be filling in for Bomani Jones on #TheRightTime on Thursday and Friday, so be sure to check that out.

More often than not, Big Brother is watching. According to a new report from The Guardian, back when people were taking to the streets to protest the death of Eric Garner, the New York Police Department was doing everything it could to stop what seemed like otherwise legal demonstrations. That includes infiltrating small groups of #BlackLivesMatter activists. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s administration is still pushing “extreme vetting,” trying to take the measures even further (like asking for social media passwords), including for nations we consider allies.

My phone is my alarm clock. It also happens to be my lifeline to everything else, but one thing I certainly do is sleep with it close to me. But for one man in Alabama, that habit nearly killed him. He received a severe electric shock after a necklace he was wearing in bed came into contact with a frayed charger wire. We all know those can be awful when they don’t help your phone juice up, but, yeah, they can also be really harmful. Thankfully for Apple, he’s alive, but the story of just how he managed to save himself is pretty impressive.

How do black people communicate? Obviously in a variety of different ways, but others always seem to want to know, as if it’s a secret. The usual spheres — salon, barbershop, church, school — have become a very dated way of looking at things now that the internet is basically the globe’s communicative currency holder. And you know black people use social media as much as any group of people in America, which shouldn’t surprise you. When your voices have been quelled for so long, you find a way. Roy Wood Jr. breaks down Black Twitter on Trevor Noah’s show.

Alabama fans stay butthurt. Deshaun Watson torched the school’s oh-so-vaunted defense to win Clemson a national championship this year, but no one in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is getting over it anytime soon. Last week, he was legitimately asked to leave an establishment in the college town, where he was dining with his girlfriend. Former Crimson Tide player Ryan Anderson was there, too, which just makes this whole thing a lot more childish. What he was doing eating in such a public place in that town, I don’t know, but still a very wack situation.

Free Food

Coffee Break: James Corden does everything better when he’s not in a studio. Watching the comedian serve as Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry’s life coach is about as funny as it gets. Also, watching Steph sing Disney songs will make your day better.

Snack Time: Whatever you do, do not taunt a chimp at a zoo. You just might end up with its poop on your face, and not because you fell in the cage. Gross.

Dessert: Pitbull is still doing it, man. Might be time for him to run for office.

Daily Dose: 4/3/17

AP to the Patriots? That would be sick

12:53 PMClinton Yates is not here today. He’s nursing injuries after receiving a “Stone Cold Stunner” last night.

We’re talking rasslin’ today. Sunday night was the 33rd edition of WWE’s WrestleMania, and it was quite the (SEVEN-HOUR) show. Tinashe performed “America the Beautiful,” New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski trucked a guy, and former ESPYS host John Cena proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Nikki Bella. Also, we saw the last match of 30-year veteran The Undertaker. For the melanin crowd, all-black group The New Day was an excellent host, and Naomi became the first African-American to win a women’s championship at WrestleMania.

The rich get richer. The Patriots won the Super Bowl two months ago and arguably won free agency in March, and quarterback Tom Brady says he can play another six or seven seasons. So how could things get any better? ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports former MVP running back Adrian Peterson is set to visit the Patriots on Monday. Keep in mind, New England had the highest-scoring running back in the league last season (LeGarrette Blount) and could possibly upgrade at the position by bringing in Peterson. The man they call “All Day” may be getting up there in age (he turned 32 two weeks ago), but he’s defied the “old running back” trope before.

Kendrick Lamar and the “male gaze.” Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar released his new single “Humble” late last week to much critical acclaim. Then lyrics to the song were further deconstructed over the weekend, and Lamar’s lines about being “sick and tired of the Photoshop” and preferring women with “somethin’ natural like Afro on Richard Pryor” were put on blast. Look, sometimes social media can overreact to rap lyrics, but this isn’t the case. Everyone’s entitled to their personal preferences, but Lamar and his (predominantly male) defenders need to learn one important lesson: Men should never tell women how they should look. Period.


Quick notes:

1. Ghost in the Shell bombed at the box office this weekend. Surprise, surprise.

2. Many casualties and injuries after Russia metro explosion.

3. The University of Missouri is shutting down three residence halls because of “low freshman enrollment.” Will be interesting to see how much the student protests from 2015 had to do with the low numbers.

4. Major League Baseball Opening Day + NCAA men’s national championship = great sports day.