Daily Dose: 6/28/17
Finally, the Chicago cops who killed Laquan McDonald are indicted
4:52 PMClinton is traveling west on assignment, so I’m filling in. And the news never stops.
Hump day is filled with NBA news. Phil Jackson! Carmelo Anthony! Chris Paul! Paul George! On Wednesday morning, five of Twitter’s top 10 terms contained the name of an NBA player, attached to breaking trade news and rumors. The news of Jackson and the New York Knicks mutually agreeing to part ways doesn’t come as a surprise, considering Jackson’s unpopular team decision-making and rocky relationship with Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony. The most surprising news on Wednesday’s radar may be the Los Angeles Clippers’ deal that will send star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for small forward Sam Dekker, guard Patrick Beverley, guard Lou Williams and a top-three protected 2018 first-round draft pick. Along with the trade came swirling rumors that Anthony and Indiana Pacers guard/forward Paul George will soon join Paul in H-Town, if the Rockets have anything to do with it. Yep, it’s that kind of day. Refresh and you might miss the next big trade.
A little justice, with a side of skepticism. Three years after the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, three Chicago police officers have been indicted on felony charges of conspiring to cover up details of the shooting to protect Officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke, who was charged with murder, responded to the radio call that McDonald had been breaking into cars and had a knife. After McDonald punctured the patrol car’s tire with his knife, Van Dyke shot him 16 times after the teen had fallen to the ground and was no longer a threat. The officer moved to reload his weapon and only held fire after being instructed by his partner to do so. According to the Chicago Tribune, the indictment alleged that Detective David March and Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney made false police reports, ignored contrary evidence and obstructed justice “to shield” Van Dyke from criminal investigation and prosecution. The three officers are set to be arraigned on July 10 in Chicago.
The Central Park Five receive long-overdue accolades. In 1989, life changed drastically for a group of five teens, ages 14 to 16, who went from being normal teenagers to doing hard time for a crime they didn’t commit. The teens, who were wrongfully accused of the brutal rape of a woman jogging in Central Park, served various sentences ranging from seven to 13 years before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Although the five men have since reached settlements that total nearly $45 million, the time they lost during their teen years will never be replaced. Yet, three men were determined to finish their education. On Monday, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana Jr. were invited to participate in the Bronx Preparatory High School graduation ceremony, where they sported caps and gowns while receiving honorary diplomas. The men received their GEDs and associate degrees but were denied a ceremony during their time in prison. This time around, all eyes were on them. “We are honored. We are hopeful. We are blessed. And we accept,” Salaam said.
Daily Dose: 6/27/17
Serena Williams checks John McEnroe
2:57 PMOn Monday, Mina Kimes and I filled in on #TheRightTime with Bomani Jones and we talked about quite a few things. But when it came to Serena Williams, we had to set the record straight. Some people just don’t get it.
It boggles the mind why people keep coming for Serena. It’s like no matter what she does, people just can’t stop comparing her to men, which is absurd. So, after tennis legend John McEnroe said on NPR that she’d be around the 700th-best player on the men’s tour, quite a few reactions came out of the woodwork, including her own. This male-dominated logic is so beyond old and tired. She is not a man and doesn’t play men. End of story. Then she proved exactly why nobody on earth can see her when it comes to anything. Her new Vanity Fair cover is a thing of beauty.
The effort to replace Obamacare is continuing on Capitol Hill. Even as Americans across the nation urge Republican lawmakers not to go forward with the new health care bill because, you know, people will die. They’re moving ahead anyway because politics rules the roost in Washington in every way imaginable. Nothing like doing your best to wipe out your own population through increased health care costs, just to be able to say you agreed with the president. Meanwhile, if you needed proof, the new Congressional Budget Office report has the numbers to explain.
Remember those kids who were handcuffed on the National Mall for selling water? The ones who, on an extremely hot day, were trying to fill a need and make a few bucks on the side? Well, after that image of them went viral and elected officials in D.C. started pressing the National Park Service on how this could happen, we have some good news. Someone offered them jobs after hearing of their plight. I can’t even explain how happy this result makes me, because if they were little white girls selling lemonade in that same spot, no one would have ever cared.
Speaking of D.C., the Washington Wizards are trying to make some moves. Specifically, John Wall is actively out here trying to recruit Paul George, which is a pretty awkward move considering that most people think the team’s nucleus is pretty solid as is. Finding room for the current Indiana Pacers forward is going to mean getting rid of someone in that young nucleus. And that person is … Otto Porter. Thanks, buddy! Now that PG-13 is available, Wall is throwing you directly under the bus. The NBA offseason. It’s fantastic.
Coffee Break: We all know how President Donald Trump goes when it comes to handshakes. He’s aggressive to a fault, to the point that people have complete body defense mechanisms to avoid getting put into a terrible position. But India’s prime minister completely dominated the scene with his version of the move.
Snack Time: I know that Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league is off the ground, but the real FIBA version of that game has a great under-18 tournament kicking off on Wednesday. Here’s something to get you in the mood for that and the 2020 Olympics.
Dessert: Everything Calvin Harris touches turns to gold these days, and this new video is no different.
‘The Bachelorette’ is fun again, but still left a lot to be desired
Lee vs. Kenny is getting real old real quick
1:02 PMAnd we’re back!
Sorry about being missing in action with the intellectual hot takes last week, but both of us (Clinton and Tierra, if you didn’t know) were too in our feelings about the drama in Bachelor Universe to really enjoy the show. This week, on The Bachelorette at least, spirits were slightly higher and we’ve got a lot of fun stuff to discuss. But first, because we are smart people who have smart things to say about trash television, we must address the elephant in the room: Lee and Kenny.
Right off the bat, Lee, who is white, resumed his racially coded analysis of Kenny, who is black and who Lee has a real problem with, presumably because he is black. “You have an unrealistic violent aspect about you,” Lee tells Kenny, who decided to approach Lee calmly about Lee’s breach of their friendship and all-around stupidity. Whoooo, Jesus, let’s go. Five minutes in and we’re already stressed. And, spoiler alert, it doesn’t get any better with these two. By the end of the episode, the bloody, “violent” conflict the trailers have been teasing for the past week isn’t resolved — it hasn’t even begun, actually — and we have to wait until Tuesday night to figure out what actually happens on their two-on-one date with Rachel.
So, what’s the payoff for all of this going to be? What do we, Bachelor Nation, have to gain by watching this racially fueled feud between noted bigot Lee and devoted father and possible future Bachelor Kenny? It’s hard to be invested in the show as a whole when there’s this subplot that has the producers’ handprints all over it. The only thing keeping our attention this season is the potential of a huge payoff. There has to be a learning moment. Maybe Rachel will open her eyes to see Lee for what he really is (🐍) and she gives an impassioned speech about the many pitfalls black women encounter when they make themselves vulnerable to the realities of dating, and she calls out all the dudes who collectively are not worth it. Maybe. It’d be great to see such a conversation about race play out on national television.
But, who knows! Until that happens, there are other things we gotta talk about because, fam, this episode was wild. First up, this one-on-one with Jack Stone, who is entirely too weird and needed to go.
Jack looks like Joel Osteen, but perhaps more importantly, he acts like Joel Osteen.
Rachel escaped with her life but couldn’t quite escape his kiss attempt. It was such a wholesome one-on-one, but wholesome doesn’t cut it on this show. Jack went home after a forgettable date, and later on Tickle Monster (what’s that guy’s name again?) and Iggy “Wendy Williams” Rodriguez joined him. Good riddance.
After lackluster appearances all around from the guys, Bryan shines through like a beacon of hope, leaving me (Tierra) swooning on my couch and leaving my boyfriend, Juan, whom I have coerced into watching this episode with me, launching into a string of conspiracy theories about Bryan Bae, none of which I will believe.
Basically he thinks Bryan is fronting on — well, on all fronts. He doesn’t think Bryan is as suave and sexy in real life as he makes himself out to be on the show, and that Bryan is just taking this opportunity to reinvent himself. He’s probably just a huge bore in real life who knows his way around the romantic dictionary.
Personally, I think Juan is a hater, but there may be proof in the pudding:
But back to Lee and Kenny! The producers demand it! It’s clearly freezing during their two-on-one with Rachel, who is bundled to the nines, but Lee isn’t wearing a coat, or even a jacket. He has a hoodie on. This says more about him as a person than anything he’s ever said. Aren’t snakes cold-blooded? Rachel is intelligent, but she’s relying too much on house gossip to get to the bottom of the Lee-Kenny, he-said, he-said drama. Open your eyes, girl!
Unfortunately the show cut off right as it was getting good, but thank the Bachelor Universe gods that we have a two-night special. Who’s going home? It’s a toss-up at this point, which makes me concerned for Rachel’s decision-making skills (as an aside, she usually knows exactly what she wants, which is an aspirational trait). Hold on to your hats, fam.
Clinton Yates contributed to this report.
Kevin Powell in awkward spot over Tupac movie
Former journalist says his work from ‘Vibe’ magazine was lifted
7:34 PMThings did not get off to a great start for All Eyez On Me, the Tupac Shakur biopic that had been hotly anticipated for years. Ever since the death of Shakur’s mother, Afeni, last May, there were concerns about how her son’s legacy and likeness would be used. She was the main gatekeeper of his message and identity after he was killed. The main concern was that the movie would either just be awful or, perhaps worse, counterfactual or ahistorical. Turns out, it was a bit of both.
Now, Kevin Powell, a former hip-hop journalist who is now an author and public speaker, says he plans to sue the producers and writers of the film, effectively for lifting his work with no compensation. He issued a statement Friday on Facebook.
This is nothing short of a deathblow to this film, from a credibility standpoint. When it was first released last week, the debut was marred by the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith, Pac’s longtime close friend, basically said that most of the on-screen relationship in the movie was a lie. She was understanding and graceful about her misgivings, but everyone understood that without her cosign, nobody could take it seriously.
Which was unfortunate more than anything. We all wanted to love this film. It many respects, it was more important than some of these other biopics because of, obviously, the subject of the film. No one wanted to know that the actual people involved in his life didn’t respect it or like it.
To follow that up, legendary movie director John Singleton said the biopic was worse than Lifetime’s attempt to document Aaliyah’s life, career and death — widely considered a complete mockery of her history. Mind you, Singleton was supposed to direct this Tupac movie, so his shade comes with a tad more bias than most. Nonetheless, it’s been one thing after another for director Benny Boom on this flick. All Eyez On Me earned $27 million its first weekend and is in theaters now.
But along with this accusation came an admission that fundamentally affects the overall lens through which we see Tupac’s life. In his complaint, Powell basically admits that he made a decent portion of those stories up, including a central figure who appears in the film named Nigel. Talk about awkward. No one wants to see their work get stolen, but to basically say the reason you knew why is because they passed on a lie that you created has to be a sinking feeling.
Whether or not Powell wins this case I don’t know, but if one of the central pieces of canon in the legacy of one of our most celebrated artists is based on a lie that even he didn’t know about, what are we to believe overall? Now we know why Afeni fought so hard to keep her son’s truth in the forefront.
‘The Bachelor’ franchise is a mess right now
and we have no one to blame but ourselves
1:08 PMIf you wanted to walk away from everything right now, I wouldn’t blame you.
In the past two weeks, what used to be a lighthearted (albeit “dramatic”) series that features people dating on television, The Bachelor brand has been rocked by issues as important to American society as anything you might see on CNN. We’re all complicit, and quite frankly, we should have seen this coming.
Because it’s salient to the current The Bachelorette, we’ll start there. With their first black Bachelorette in her big moment, of course, it was instantly ruined.
As soon as Dean stepped on the stage and said, “I’m ready to go black and I’ll never go back,” that signaled this show was likely going off the rails sooner rather than later. Sure, it was live television, but we let our collective guards down. He’s young! He was nervous! Sure. But think about it: You can’t let that happen. It doesn’t take a lot for a producer to ask contestants what they’re going to say and to make sure they do. It was a clear indication that they were down for shenanigans from jump.
So by the time we get to this situation with Lee, Eric and then Kenny, we should have known that not only was this not going to go well, but our intelligence might get insulted in the interim. And that’s exactly what happened. Because the franchise decided that instead of actually allowing us to see the depth of the person who is Rachel, we’re subjected to an arc that stokes plantation politics as a driving force for the storyline.
“Kenny is a big ol’ meat head, and I wanted to break him down,” Lee says at one point. These are not the coded words we’re looking for from a guy with a history of extremely bigoted tweets and social media banter. Instead of this becoming a point of shame or education, at this point, it’s not just an accident. My colleague Domonique Foxworth says they’re actively trafficking in racist tensions to push the plot. Lee and Kenny have a two-on-one date next week, which is apparently worth a two-night special. It’s gross.
Things have gotten so bad that the network has reportedly forced at least one contestant to cancel interviews about the situation until after the season ends.
We haven’t even gotten to the Bachelor In Paradise situation, which feels equally slimy. After an incident with contestant Corinne Olympios, they’ve basically tried to act like the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding. On top of that, the guy involved in it, DeMario Jackson, has been invited back to the show.
They claimed an investigation was carried out, and we’ll be seeing Paradise this summer after all. But the issue of whether the fundamental premise of the show is based on implied consent at all times has not been addressed. Instead, Olympios has said she was a victim. She’s still lawyered up, understandably. Instead of an honest conversation about alcohol and what that means when it comes to sexual assault, we’re forced into a narrative that effectively implies that a woman is lying.
It’s not about implying Jackson necessarily did anything wrong. But call it what you want. By fueling people up with booze and dicey conditions for consent, you’re basically selling rape culture on an island. Of course, we all sort of knew that, but there was a reasonable benefit of the doubt you could give to the producers and the program. Now it all feels like a scramble to make us forget this ever happened. Which will probably work because, all this notwithstanding, Paradise is the best show of all three.
So this is what we’re left with headed into Monday night’s episode. A franchise that’s staked itself to a couple of premises that make the entire situation not only not fun, but actively painful. Maybe at some point there’s a way to find some level of redemption in this, but that’s not realistic. There’s too much money to be made and, as some contestants have pleaded, if it all goes away then, well, suddenly everyone involved is irrelevant.
But whatever it takes to get to paradise, I guess.
Daily Dose: 6/26/17
BET Awards provide many moments for the culture
12:02 PMSunday night, settle down to the television, get on the Twitter box and go. That’s pretty much the routine when it comes to awards shows, and last night was no different. The BET Awards did not disappoint, but they did run way long.
Where do we begin? Los Angeles was popping with black star power Sunday night, and because of who it was there were also plenty of blunders that were pretty funny. I kept a running thread on Twitter about the various observations I had, but most importantly, it was a come up and a half for Leslie Jones. The comedian, who had an extremely tough year in terms of personal strife, was showing all the way out as the host and was definitely funny. If you root for black women to succeed, which you should, last night was a victory for us all.
The value of a black life seems to be ever-changing. In the case of Philando Castile, it’s apparently $3 million. That’s the amount that the family of the man murdered in front of his girlfriend and her child reached in a settlement with the city of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota. Reminder: The man who killed him while on duty was acquitted in his case. When you ask why people consider violence against black people to be state-sponsored, this is why. If you live there, your taxes are paying for him to be killed and also for the consequences.
Capitalism is a fickle beast. Because in theory, market forces in certain scenarios will help everyone out. But, unfortunately overall, the system doesn’t work unless poor people exist. So when you try to overcorrect for previous forms of mistreatment like low wages, if you go too far you blow up business models that were not created on that math. Instead of everyone just getting more money, people have to stop working. There’s concern right now that Seattle might have done exactly that.
John McEnroe is a hater. On top of that, he is apparently sexist. It’s 2017, and to sell a book he’s still going on with this notion that for any woman to be given her credit as an athlete, she must be compared with a man. That’s a) complete nonsense and b) COMPLETE NONSENSE. Serena Williams is the best tennis player he’s ever seen, and he’s just scared to say that out loud because it would rattle his whole raison d’etre. Instead, he throws out a number that she might be ranked if she were a man. Breaking: She’s not. And doesn’t need to be.
Coffee Break: Look. I love Migos. This is not news. But Everyday Struggle has become a show that, for whatever reason, manages to make news. Between DJ Akademiks and Joe Budden, these two create viral moments that are either wildly embarrassing or extremely effective. You can take what you will from this Migos confrontation.
Snack Time: If you thought the Ball family empire was limited to just basketball and clothes, you’ve got another think coming. It looks like LaVar Ball could actually be close to inking something with the WWE, which is fantastic.
Dessert: Q-Tip put on for his fallen Queens homey, Prodigy, on Beats1. May he rest in peace.
The Morning Roast: 6/25/17
The NBA draft is over, still no football, but there’s plenty to talk about
11:45 AMWe’re full on in the thick of summer radio, which means that the topics are thin on sports but fun on life. Christian Yates was away on holiday, so talk of The Bachelorette stayed pretty serious, as that particular program has taken a turn for the super cynical.
As far as guests, we chopped it up with Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight.com. Obviously, there was a lot of basketball chatter on the heels of the NBA draft too.
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The NBA draft gave us some fun moments. There wasn’t a whole lot of suspense, as the picks were pretty much chalk, but the devil is in the details. Markelle Fultz unsurprisingly went to the 76ers and was wearing quite a bit of TV makeup that was rather noticeable. Of course the Ball family was in the building, making a tremendous scene, and LaVar’s vision came to fruition. Sidebar: LaVar might be in the WWE soon. LaMelo, though, was the best-dressed one there.
Of course, the Timberwolves traded for Jimmy Butler, which was the big deal of the day in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Who knows what the Bulls were thinking, unloading their best player for a couple of dudes who few like and one of whom has a torn ACL. Then they sold a pick to the Warriors. It should also be noted that Butler was in Paris when he got the news that he was traded.
We did find time for the NFL as well. With Colin Kaepernick’s tweets prompting awful takes from many writers, we had to clear a couple of things up.
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The New York Knicks are a mess right now. Their best player, Kristaps Porzingis, bailed on the squad before exit interviews when the season ended, and their owner was playing a rock gig the night of the draft. Thankfully, team president Phil Jackson didn’t trade the Latvian away, to the delight of fans, for once. We broke down what they can do next to make them an important franchise to the NBA again. Let’s also not forget that Charles Oakley’s court case for nearly beating up owner James Dolan is still looming.
Speaking of NYC, Kentucky head coach John Calipari showed up to the NBA draft, which is where he does a large part of his recruiting. He’s blatantly there to show face for the Wildcats, which is fine. Also, the fashion factor is a big part of the draft, so we got into that as well.
Of course, the Derek Carr $125M deal with the Oakland Raiders was big news in the NFL world. Mina and Domonique broke down how that’s not really a super significant figure overall, even though it makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Basically, he should be. Until the next guy comes along. Which will probably be this week.
Lastly, for Top 5, I took a look at what some of the most hateable fan bases in America are. If you’re wondering, no, New York, Dallas and Philadelphia are not on the list.
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Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune joined us to talk about the Timberwolves and how they look as a squad since their big acquisition of Butler. They’ve moved up from a League Pass alert team to someone that’s probably going to get a whole lot more television time. But they haven’t made the playoffs in 13 years, so we got into how this franchise is going to move forward.
In the second segment, we talked about the story of Ryan O’Callaghan, whom some of you may remember from his time with the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. He recently was profiled at OutSports.com with a harrowing story about how he was talked down from suicide, which he’d planned for a long time after his NFL career ended. Domonique told a great story about a teammate he played with who later came out and that he regrets not being more respectful to during their time at the University of Maryland.
I saved the best for last, however. As you all know, The Bachelorette is a big topic of discussion on this program. Since I happened to be doing this show from home, I had a surprise for the gang. After informing everyone that Christian was out of the country, I stepped away from the Skype fam for a second and returned in costume, ready for the segment. Sure, it’s not a visual medium, but the bit was worth it.
Daily Dose: 6/23/17
Bill Cosby is taking his show on the road
11:19 AMIt’s officially summer. That means you’ll have a lot more people randomly taking Fridays off. And for that reason, I’m filling in on The Dan Le Batard Show today with Ryan Hollins. Should be a fun one.
Johnny Depp needs to chill. Thursday at the Glastonbury Festival in England, he intimated that he might want to assassinate President Donald Trump. Not only is this not cool at all from an obvious human standpoint, but this can also turn out to be a pretty awful career move. Just ask Kathy Griffin. Of course, Depp is rich beyond belief, but he apparently also has issues handling money, so he might want to be able to continue to work for a while. This is not going to end well for Depp.
Bill Cosby has no shame. The man who openly admitted to drugging women to have sex with them, managed to get a hung jury in a sexual assault trial, then had his handlers openly brag about his restored power is really craven. He’s planning public speaking arrangements about how to avoid sexual assault accusations. The plan is to focus on speaking to young athletes and married men. They’re going to have to pay people to show up to these things. Simple lesson: Assault is the problem. Not the accusations.
When I was a teenager, I skated a lot. Not like, let me go to the skate park and learn tricks, but more of a “I need a faster and more fun way to get around town” type. So I never really got good enough to do anything that would impress anyone, but I could ollie well enough to hop a curb from the street if I needed to. Whether I can still actually do that or not, I have no idea. But I will be covering the X Games later this summer, so maybe we’ll see. Anyway, one reporter tried to pick up skating as a grown-up and, well, it wasn’t quite what she expected.
The White House is affecting the New York Jets. If owner Woody Johnson is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the U.K., that means his kid brother Chris is going to have to take over daily operations of the team. I love the idea of the Jets falling apart because of the owner’s excessive political aspirations. Woody Johnson screaming about some butt fumble situation with a cup of tea on the table is an image I won’t get out of my mind anytime soon. I really hope the U.S. Embassy in London is lame enough to fly a Jets flag too.
Coffee Break: I admitted to myself the one thing in life I know I’ll regret is not being able to be around when the numbers game simply changes in the U.S. That will be when there are just too many people of color to allow unfair practices to rule our land. Here’s a great story on how interracial love is saving the nation.
Snack Time: Keep telling yourself that everything is fair in America, kiddos. Check out these two photos and you’ll get a real good look at how we are treated versus everyone else.
Dessert: Vince Staples’ new album is out. It’s got many sounds and is perfect for a party to run all the way.