Daily Dose: 6/8/17
Sen. Kamala Harris steals the show at Comey hearing
12:55 PMThe bars were packed in Washington, D.C., to watch of a bunch of politicians talk. Adults, babies, reporters, everyone. Wild.
James Comey was ready for his close-up. On Wednesday, the former FBI chief submitted his written testimony about what he felt happened between himself and President Donald Trump, with some interesting details about a dinner they had. There were also references to Russian sex workers, which we all know is a pretty salacious topic. But he didn’t even read that statement, instead making different opening remarks that basically included him saying that Trump was dishonest. This is all obviously a huge deal. California Sen. Kamala Harris was the real star, tho.
Typically, if I’ve had a few drinks, I smoke cigarettes. It’s something I’ve done since college and have on occasion put down, but I justify the smoking by saying it’s something that only happens when I drink, which is true. I otherwise find smoking pretty gross. But what is that? Is there such a thing as addiction that’s dependent on something else? Sort of like how every time I eat yogurt I immediately want mandarin oranges? It turns out it has to do with your memory as much as anything. Weird.
In case you forgot, Bill Cosby is still on trial. Andrea Constand, the woman who worked for Temple’s basketball team and accused the comedian of raping her, took the stand this week. But Wednesday, her mother did too. And while she was on the stand, she testified about a conversation she had with Cosby after her daughter told her what happened. Frankly, the details are horrifying and you’re left with the conclusion that Bill just didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. Which is the scary part.
The Stanley Cup Final resumes Thursday night, and the Nashville Predators officially made it a series. They not only won two in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home to tie the series, but they also did so in glorious fashion, including a 5-1 bangout in Game 3 that had Nashville going completely wild. Now they go back to Pittsburgh, and things have changed entirely. But let’s be clear, this is not some flash-in-the-pan situation for the Preds. Their comeback is very real, and there are people in this world who think they could actually win the Stanley Cup.
Coffee Break: We love sports kids, but sometimes they get overexposed. Some children want to be just that, without letting the fame of their parents affect who they are. But for some kids, the spotlight is natural and warranted. Now, Chris Paul’s and Dwyane Wade’s sons have a web show together. It’s great.
Snack Time: Everyday Struggle is continuing its way into making it one of the more important hip-hop shows of record across the diaspora. They had SZA on recently; she’s got a new album out, and we learned about crystals.
Dessert: Alchemist has a big new project coming out, which means I’ll be buying a new Alchemist project.
All Day Podcast: 6/7/17
The Most Interesting Man In the World, ‘The Bachelorette’ and our national anthem
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So, when we mentioned some changes were coming to the podcast, the idea was to make things more than a personal, explorative look at things of my personal interest and go deeper on individual subjects. With that came the need for a new show intro. I hope you all enjoy what I put together.
To start things off, we talked to The Undefeated’s Tierra R. Wilkins about the latest episode of The Bachelorette. With one of the contestants effectively outed as a bigot, and it clearly being part of the intentional storylines, we’ve been a little let down by how this happened. Another black woman getting her chance in the spotlight ruined is not anything anyone wants. Wilkins also went into some detail about a personal experience with how dangerous it can be as a black woman dating certain people.
I also chatted with the man formerly known as The Most Interesting Man In The World from that Dos Equis ad campaign, Jonathan Goldsmith. He wasn’t an unknown actor when that role came along, but it was an awfully late career comeback for a guy who’d been working in Hollywood since the 1950s. His new book Stay Interesting comes out June 13, from Penguin Random House. He calls it a manifesto, but I’d call it a collection of extremely short stories that, if nothing else, paints an incredible picture of what America and show business used to be.
Lastly, on the heels of an appearance on Outside The Lines with Bob Ley in which I talked about the latest developments in the Colin Kaepernick saga, I decided to tackle the larger subject with that story: the national anthem. Some people consider the song absolutely sacrosanct, but I don’t. I explain why in the final segment.
Oh, and I got to wear a fun hat on TV.
Daily Dose: 6/7/17
The ROC is in the building
12:40 PMThese are some of the truest words I’ve ever read.
Washington is a mess right now. Committee hearings all over the place, the attorney general looking to resign, former intelligence chiefs saying Watergate “pales” in comparison to the current climate, it’s dizzying at best in terms of pace. Chaotic is a massive understatement when it comes to this country’s leadership at every level. Also, the president’s daughter is on the cover of Us Weekly, saying that she doesn’t always agree with her father. Meanwhile, most Americans polled think Trump fired FBI director James Comey to cover his own behind. Oh, and this.
I’ve long held the belief that the New York subway system is the best and worst in the world. And it’s for the same reasons. While you can get anywhere at anytime, you’re also liable to see or be subjected to anything at any time, with no warning. On Tuesday, a video went viral showing a group of passengers who were stranded in a train for 45 minutes with no light and no air conditioning. Fam, I have no idea what I would have done in that scenario. Check out what Desus & Mero had to say about this rather gross debacle.
YouTube is basically the only content platform that seems to matter these days. No matter how hard these others try, it basically controls everything from a popularity standpoint. And because it’s where the stars are these days, it’s also where the people who watch the stars are. So, if you were worried about not knowing who the former were, you certainly are clueless about the latter. Because they’re famous now, too, btw. I find this very cool on pretty much every level.
Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson just signed with Roc Nation. I feel like that sentence in itself explains the news, but if you don’t know, that’s the sports marketing agency that Jay Z started some years back. They’ve had some big names over the years, but this is the first NFL head coach they’ve landed as a client. It’s not super surprising, but certainly a milestone for an endeavor that many people saw as foolhardy at launch. Now, with Kevin Durant, Dez Bryant and Robinson Cano on their roster, they’re certainly in the big time, no doubt.
Coffee Break: Everything about the Kalief Browder story makes me sick to my stomach. Be it the nonsense that landed him in jail in the first place, the unreasonable and inhumane corrections system that kept him in jail for so long, or the fact that he killed himself and the cycle never broke for him. It was two years ago Tuesday that it happened. R.I.P.
Snack Time: If you didn’t know, there’s a black woman running for governor in Georgia. Her name is Stacey Abrams. If she wins, she’d be the first black woman to hold that position in the U.S.
Dessert: Tuesday was a TV day. I wore a hat for the occasion.
Daily Dose: 6/6/17
Childish Gambino will not go on
1:01 PMIf you live in Washington, D.C., like I do, you’re gearing up for the James Comey testimony on Thursday. There are bars opening early to watch it live, if you want to get an idea of what it’s like to live in the nation’s capital.
When it comes to leaks and classified reports, I can barely keep up. It seems like every week, someone in some branch of government is whining about the transmission of information from one place or another. But the latest info, of a leaker getting exposed and arrested, is something we haven’t seen in a while. As it turns out, a 25-year-old contractor had access to National Security Agency intelligence and leaked a report to The Intercept. She’s looking at 10 years in prison, but get this: Her name is Reality Winner. Genuinely can’t make this stuff up.
Childish Gambino is no longer. While the artist Donald Glover created it to make all sorts of music that he’s blessed us with over the years — including his last album, Awaken, My Love — he is done making music. This is a respectable decision. So often, rappers hold on longer than imaginable to that part of their careers while it’s availed them of enough things to be creative on other platforms. Some do that nefariously, but for Glover, it was time. Gambino is dead. Long live Gambino.
If you took a break from social media for three months, would your life change? Sure, you’d probably have more time to fix up that room in your house or maybe go to the gym and get your temple right for the summer. But would it change the way you think, the way your brain operates and, effectively, how you look at the world? Of course it would. One woman decided that she’d step away while she was on book leave, and it made her realize that the news cycle is completely broken. I like to think it’s reinvented, personally.
The problem with youth sports, always, is the adults. When it comes to making decisions on who should be allowed to play what and with whom and when or whatever, there’s someone in control who has to make it about them and ruin a good time for those involved. In the name of competition or whatever nonsense they’ve decided is important, they’ll embarrass people and children to prove a point. Like the case in Nebraska, where an entire youth soccer team was booted from a tournament because they had a girl who “looked like a boy.”
Coffee Break: Researchers analyzed nearly 200 hours of police body camera footage and came to a truly mind-boggling and groundbreaking finding. Authorities treat black people worse when it comes to traffic stops. Excuse me while I alert the media. Seriously, this did not need this much research.
Snack Time: Kevin Durant and LeBron James apparently made a rap song together at some point. Whoopee. Now, someone is asking for way too high of a price to release the whole thing. Should have just sold it to TMZ, fam.
‘The Wopsters’ are coming
Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’oir have a new reality show on BET
Considering the year he’s had, Gucci Mane’s life has to be pretty interesting at this point. His comeback star turn has reached epic proportions, and he’s been putting out music the entire time as well. Now, it could take another step toward the top.
On Monday, his fiancée, Keyshia Ka’oir, announced via Instagram that the two would be starring in a new series called The Wopsters on BET, leading up to their wedding on Oct. 17. And for as much as we’re looking forward to more Guwop, the real star here is Ka’oir. This could be the Hollywood come-up she’s deserved for some time. If you don’t know, she’s a serious entrepreneur who, when this all is said and done, can take full credit for Wop’s life now.
She’s a fitness entrepreneur who’s been at it for years. Her “link in bio” game crushes yours. In an era in which the hustle from wherever you are to celebrity is finally being rewarded for black women (see: Blac Chyna and my personal favorite, Cardi B), this should do wonders for Ka’oir. By the way, if you don’t know the full story of how they met or how they managed to keep things together while he was in jail, and how she got him home without a whole bunch of nonsense from cameras, read this. It’s excellent.
A famous black couple on television living healthy lifestyles and enjoying life? Yes, more of that please. And make sure that Zaytoven writes the theme song and plays at the wedding.
The worst-case scenario has developed on ‘The Bachelorette’
It’s clear the producers knew one of the contestants was a bigot because it’s a storyline
10:54 AMNobody wanted this to happen. Everyone wanted to live in their own fun world of wine, petty beefs, past relationships coming back to haunt them, drunken outbursts in attempts at love and maybe some embarrassing physical challenges that in the end build character for everyone. Sure, it’s not REAL in the sense of Rachel ever going to have to, say, cover for a guy if his debit card doesn’t work on a date, but the emotion is at least feigned enough to get by.
What you don’t want is a situation where an outed bigot is clearly being given a platform to spew his nonsense and practice his weird fetishes of making others suffer via his manipulation. But once it was revealed through social media posts from not long ago that Lee was very much a jerk, the air was already out of the sails a tad. With Monday’s episode, you have no choice but to think that his sole purpose on the show was to effectively ruin the first season with a black woman as The Bachelorette.
We wanted Rachel Lindsay to be good enough for them to consider being able to get through this without some racist stunt just because. And even if it does turn out to be some long story arc of redemption for him, the slime factor is already there and it just feels like another black woman’s chance got mocked, just because they could.
Eric, who doesn’t deserve the vitriol the other guys are dishing out, was spot-on when he said that Lee had snake in his DNA. This kind of sneaky “not-racist-because-I’m-dating-a-black-girl” type of guy has been around since interracial dating became cool, and black girls have been dealing with it since. I’m sure the reason Rachel was crying at the end of this episode was because she realized that she let one of them into her midst.
Many black women have firsthand experience of this. It’s incredibly defeating to think the best of someone and be proven so dangerously wrong. It’s not an exaggeration — Lee is a dangerous guy. He’s the kind of guy who calls the cops on black kids playing outside because they might be a little too loud. The kind who disparages the “thugs” hustling on the corner while telling you how sexy your chocolate skin is, you Nubian queen. Lee is here to prove something to himself. This accusation is a cliché at this point, but for Lee it holds true: He’s not here for the right reasons, and the sooner Rachel figures that out the better, because it’s not fun to watch while he’s still in the running.
During scenes from the next show, this reared its ugly head. It became clear that Lee had turned his sights on Eric for reasons that had more to do with competition. In one clip, a contestant even had to pull him aside and say that calling black people “angry” has a very specific history in this nation, one that is split along racial lines. At one point Lee says that nothing makes him happier than “when I smile and an angry man gets angrier.” Gross.
It’s really a shame, too, because it happened right at the end, soiling the best episode of the season yet.
You might recall that at the end of the last episode, DeMario had decided to return to the house to ask for forgiveness and get back in. Rachel, out of curiosity, decided to hear him out. The guys of the house sort of gathered around to watch, and it felt superhokey even for this show.
Then something amazing happened. Rachel listened to him and heard his spiel, which really wasn’t much more than him trying to tweet through it after messing everything up with his girlfriend for blowing up his spot. Then, she told him in a firm but not mean manner that she appreciated his effort but if he’d come with this kind of honesty the first time he might still be there. Alas, he had to go.
DeMario CLEARLY did not expect to take that kind of L for the second time, never mind get dunked on. It was a great moment for fans across America who got to see The Bachelorette dismiss someone who obviously didn’t deserve to be there.
After that was taken care of, we got to settle into a couple of dates that took us straight to the show’s sweet spot: the dates. Both group dates and the solo date were fun while being a tad ridiculous, which is why we’re all here. On the first one, they went to visit The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It started with Ellen and Rachel watching on a side screen while the lads went through security and Rachel gave her information about each of them. It was perfect.
Alex was the clear winner of the Ellen date, showing off the most moves and comfort with the crowd while showing off his twerk game, then being honest enough to admit he urinated in the pool at the mansion. Don’t worry, fam, we all do it. We just don’t talk about it. Then he talked nerdy to Rachel about eye contact science and ended up getting a well-deserved group-date rose.
The next date was a personal favorite. Rachel rode horses in Beverly Hills, California, with Anthony. Like just walking down the sidewalk. People were gawking and taking pictures, and students were screaming Rachel’s name out of school buses. It was the most ballerific thing we’ve ever seen on the show. They even rode the animals into actual stores, where one proceeded to defecate on the floor. It was an incredible scene.
We also got to learn a few things about Anthony, who came off as a genuinely serious dude when it comes to relationships. He didn’t try to play any sort of wounded fawn angle. He said straight up that he loves his family and looks to continue that tradition as a father, and it’s extremely important to him. She gave him a rose on the spot, and he even afterward was humble enough to admit that he was nervous about putting himself out there from an emotional standpoint, but he was rewarded for it. So much more refreshing than some “I had it in the bag the whole time” reply, which many dudes are wont to do.
The second group date was the best we’d seen on any iteration of this program in a while. With a group that included Kenny, an actual professional wrestler, they added a nice twist: more women. As we saw in the opening episode, Rachel brought along some friends from the Bachelor house where she competed. They all rode a party bus together and got to know each other better. She then fielded their advice when it came to analyzing the guys, which was smart.
You have to get dirty, you’ve got to win, and there’s a showmanship element. Nobody was too cool for school, and no one took it TOO seriously and decided to get crazy and mess up the bit. We can’t even recall who even won the rose, which tells you how entertaining the actual bit was.
Three good dates, three feel-good experiences.
But there were lowlights.
The first was Fred. In the Ellen date, during the “Never Have I Ever” portion, he revealed that he’d once slept with a woman twice his age. Not a smart thing to let loose when you’re already in a weird spot by trying to win the heart of your childhood camp counselor crush. Nobody wants to feel fetishized on national television, never mind till death do them part.
Secondly, he got in his feelings about the fact that he had yet to kiss Rachel after quite a few others had. “I’ve been waiting like 20 years to kiss her, man,” Fred said at one point. Which, coupled with the whole older woman thing, was just really creepy. After that, when he finally did get to sit down with her, he actually asked permission to kiss her, which was just weird in the context of a dating program. So when it finally happened, we were just grossed out by the clunky approach and execution. Fred, get your game together.
Then, we got to experience Rachel shining again. Instead of stringing him along after that shameful performance, she just let him go, telling him openly and honestly that she just didn’t feel the same way about him and there was nothing wrong with that. It was earnest and straightforward, and because they had an actual life connection beforehand she didn’t string him along or lead him on. In short, her classy breakup game is very on point. Bravo.
Lastly and mercifully, the story of Lucas (aka Whaboom) and Blake came to a glorious close. For as much as Whaboom made me laugh, it was clear he was just there to sell shirts, which was fine, except for the fact that Blake took exception to it. Why? Because he actually knows Lucas from real life, which is like showing up to college in the fall only to find out that the ONE person you couldn’t stand from high school is there too, and you’re pledging the same Greek organization.
They got into a spat that ended up going all the way up to Rachel, with Blake making the first move and focusing entirely too much on Lucas. When Whaboom was asked about it, he dropped some off-topic, offensive remarks about something Blake might have done while they were sleeping, and it was clear what Rachel was thinking: Y’all both gotta go. They did.
And in classic Bachelor drama, the two filmed their goodbye interviews with producers across the driveway from each other. Like Cam Newton walking away from his interview after the Super Bowl because he could hear an opponent boasting nearby, Blake got so agitated that he walked over to Whaboom’s stand-up shot and started to curse him out. They then began a rather childlike level of bickering. The sexual tension was off the charts. Clearly these two will be rooming together on the next Bachelor In Paradise. It has to happen.
We had fun this week, but we’re dreading the next episode. With a bigot looming in the mix, and clearly by design of the show, it’s shaping up to be the slimiest episode the franchise has ever seen.
Sneaker Shopping with Complex takes on Ball family
and everyone had a good time
3:03 PMYou knew it had to happen.
The most famous hoops family in America took to the streets with Complex’s Joe La Puma, and the results were about exactly what you’d expect. LaVar Ball yelling about his playing days in the Air Jordan 2s. They’re all wearing BBB slides, which is hilarious.
La Puma didn’t pull punches when it came to the price of Ball’s sneakers. They went at it for a couple of minutes in front of the kids, and their dad held himself pretty well. La Puma seems to imply that Ball should apologize or rephrase his words when it comes to how he chooses to market his brands, pointing out that some people just can’t afford $500 kicks. “Don’t go to Rolls-Royce talking about you need a Toyota,” Ball replied. Fair enough.
Perhaps the biggest reveal of this entire video is Ball pointing out that his kids will not necessarily be wearing Big Baller Brand at all times.
“You may see them in Jordans, but you won’t see me in Jordans. I’ll be in Big Baller Brand,” Ball said. “I don’t restrict them just to have any shoe. But it depends on how our brand grows. … Lonzo can wear any shoe he wants; all my boys can wear any shoe they want.”
Understandably, La Puma is really into the production and design of the sneakers. Not going to lie, it doesn’t seem like the host is taking the dad very seriously, but, hey, most people don’t. The best part of the video is Ball explaining that none of this was really about selling all sorts of shoes. It was about indicating that if they wanted to do something, they could.
“Lonzo’s shoe was put together the way he wanted it,” Ball says. “Now, I feel that’s the price tag. Being our own shoe, symbolic comes with a price. And that’s basically what the shoe is for.”
Watching this family interact will never cease to amaze and entertain me.
Lakeith Stanfield introduces ‘LaZercism’
Are you suffering from racial glaucoma?
“How are we supposed to do our jobs, if we can’t even see?”
Those are the words of an actor playing the role of one of the police officers involved in that 2015 incident near Dallas, where authorities broke up a pool party on video. You might recall that classic for the barrel roll memes that came out of it, but for the 15-year-old girl who was pulled to the ground by her hair, it was traumatizing. She ended up suing the city, and the officer was never charged.
Incidents like this are exactly what actor Lakeith Stanfield is tackling in his new sketch-not-quite-comedy video that he’s released called LaZercism: in short, laser eye surgery that attacks racism at its core, through your vision. If only it were so easy. The entirety of the short takes on the feel of an infomercial, which makes it feel like it might have been left on the Atlanta cutting-room floor. Then again, the concept of the joke is something directly out of the Get Out playbook.
But the very premise of the bit is fascinating. Written and directed by Shaka King, it’s worth your time.
Daily Dose: 6/5/17
Bill Cosby trial begins outside of Philadelphia
12:32 PMI didn’t get to see it this weekend, but I can’t wait until I do. Reviews like this will definitely get me to the theater.
Bill Cosby’s trial has already gotten off to an awkward start. He arrived at the courtroom in Norristown, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia on Monday with Keshia Knight Pulliam on his arm. You might remember her as the little girl who played Rudy on The Cosby Show, which is just uncomfortable on multiple levels. He doesn’t expect to testify at the trial, but the woman who accused him of sexual assault will, getting the ball rolling on so many others becoming willing to come out about encounters they had with the comedian. Here’s what to watch while this all unfolds.
Speaking of questionable characters named Bill, Mr. Maher is canceled. Not literally, but as far as I’m concerned he can go away and never come back. This dude, who hosts an HBO show, said during an interview in front of an audience that he was a “house n—–” without one bit of hesitation. Various people came to cape for him, which I’m never going to understand. The list includes Killer Mike, Donna Brazile, Michael Eric Dyson and his wife. Maher apologized, but the damage is done. It’s not like he’s got some great history when it comes to bigotry.
If you’re on Instagram, what you like is public. Meaning, if someone wants to know what it is you’re double-tapping on, all they have to do is go to the activity page and scroll to see that your co-worker is really into lemon trees, or your old high school baseball teammate is now seriously stalking models in Monaco. But what would you do if you saw your significant other like someone else’s butt selfie? Hurt, offended, angry, no big deal? Here’s one woman’s investigation into why her boyfriend hearts a model’s backside.
You might recall that Kobe Bryant once scored 81 points in a game. You might also remember that that game was against the Toronto Raptors. If you didn’t know, Jalen Rose was on that team and now is obviously an ESPN personality. I like Jalen a lot and always have since I was a middle schooler trying to emulate him and the Fab Five on the court. But when it comes to asking him about that fateful day, things can get awkward. Someone decided to lean all the way in on that and make a commercial out of it. It’s hilarious.
Coffee Break: Graduation season is really fun. Particularly when school administrators aren’t being jerks and actually understand the ceremony is about the kids and not about keeping decorum or whatever nonsense they come up with to hate on fun. This is what graduation should look like.
Snack Time: Pusha T is an anti-gun-violence advocate, and he’s been in these streets delivering his message for quite some time. Recently, he penned a letter to a 6-year-old on the topic, and it’s perfectly adorable.
Dessert: Rest in peace, Cheick Tioté. He will not be forgotten. Tioté, 30, died after collapsing during training in China.
The Morning Roast: 6/4/17
It was an animal-heavy show
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The gang got things off to a hot start this week and had more fun than usual. With Mina Kimes on the East Coast, everyone was on the same page from a body clock standpoint. In the first hour, we actually got into some pretty serious baseball talk, discussing whether no-hitters are a big deal and taking a look at Albert Pujols breaking the 600 home-run mark and if anyone actually cares about that.
Perhaps most importantly, though, was that we finally got to discuss what’s going on with The Bachelorette, and it appears that Domonique Foxworth is one step closer to actually turning on his television to watch this show. You might recall that last week ESPN’s Mike Golic Jr. was dead-on when he said he thought that contestant Lee was a racist. GoJo was exactly right. Not to mention, there’s the whole matter that Rachel Lindsay actually dated Kevin Durant. What a world.
In the second hour, we talked with Tom Junod, whose story about the people who handled Muhammad Ali’s body is out in ESPN The Magazine. It’s a rich and detailed look at The Greatest’s last days and the reaction in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. After that, we kept things very high-minded and chatted with Jake Waddell, the dude who threw a catfish on the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He was awesome. After that is when things went haywire during Top 5.
A conversation about rappers having exotic animals turned into Mina listing the top five favorite ones she’d like to have in a rap video. Then, I said that I once got out of the car during a safari in Africa, and the other two went haywire. Clearly, they’ve never been in that position and don’t know that people do this all the time, even though it is wild dangerous.
The show ended with a visit from a new friend of the show, a character I made up. He’s a classical music enthusiast and, well, he’s rather sophisticated. Enjoy!