Black love: Sensitive thugs need hugs
After home visits, Eric opens up on ‘The Bachelorette’
1:53 PMThey say you never forget your first love.
For fans of the Bachelor franchise, we’ll never forget when Eric decided to declare his feelings to Rachel in the Spanish countryside. We certainly won’t misremember when Peter said to her that to him engagement is the same as marriage. And the look on Bryan’s face when Rachel’s sister Constance asked her how it’s possible that they fell in love so quickly is burned into our brains.
But Monday night, after meeting The Bachelorette’s mother, pregnant sister, sister’s husband and a couple of other members of her Dallas-based family, we all learned something about ourselves. To be clear, I am not listing these in the order of appearance, so deal with it.
It should be noted the format was switched up a tad bit for this, so all three guys were in town while the others visited the house as well. This created a bit of a rapid-fire effect, which certainly took its toll on the family. Normally, there would have just been two. For the purposes of brevity, I’m going to combine both the parent experiences and vacation experiences of each.
I’ll also say at this point that if this were me, I would have bailed after meeting these people. Nothing personal, necessarily, but a) not being able to meet her father because he’s a federal judge, b) they are clearly mega-rich and c) they have a chessboard and a telescope in the same room. Three strikes.
Let’s get to the action.
If nothing else, this man is honest. He told Rachel last week that he wasn’t necessarily going to propose even if he won, a shocking dose of reality from a guy who had the nerve to trot out two black friends in Wisconsin to tout his bona fides on “tolerance,” as if this were the 1960s.
The picture above is of him talking to Rachel’s mother, exposing the look he had on his face almost the entire episode. It was somewhere between “I didn’t actually think this whole ‘marrying a famous black woman’ thing through” and “my God, her family is richer than mine, this is awkward.” If for no other reason than it clearly made him more comfortable, the fact that Rachel’s sister Constance’s husband is white was certainly a calming influence on the family dynamic.
His run of incredibly lucky date opportunities continued, with the two of them this time going shopping for baby clothes for Constance, obviously a win-win situation all around. He gets to talk about how much he loves kids without any actually being present and, on the back end, show up with something for the family that someone actually needs, instead of just a smile and some weak lines about being ready for the next step.
— K e l s i e 🌹 (@KelsieColette) July 25, 2017
The strangest juncture came when he and Rachel finally sat down to discuss their partnership and Peter basically was unwilling to compromise his previously established values for the sake of a television program. Which leads to the obvious question of: WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING HERE, ANYWAY? … but we’ll get to that later. He contends that he doesn’t want to waste an engagement on a marriage, which is apparently a thing that dudes do.
We’re also guessing he doesn’t like the fact that she’s seen Rachel buy Bryan a Breitling and, in general, still just isn’t really all that comfortable with the fact that he hasn’t won this already. It’s one thing to be against a whole group of guys. It’s quite another when you’ve all got relationships with each other and one of you might not end up getting the proverbial prize, here.
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) July 25, 2017
Yayaya Peter’s so sexy and fun. He’s been treating this whole thing like it’s a forced arranged marriage, and his hair is my favorite part about him on this show.
This was a disaster right out of the gate. His pre-family meet date was a weak sauce brunch with two of Rachel’s friends, who looked and acted exactly like the type of people you’d meet at your new girlfriend’s brunch who have one too many questions about who you are for polite company. They were talking about the guy like he wasn’t even there, and the whole thing appeared rather unproductive, even for Bachelorette standards.
Things really got moving when they got to the house. Bryan’s No. 1 mistake was looking sloppy. His shirt was a little too big to be untucked and a little too casual to also be unbuttoned, giving him a look simply not befitting of a 37-year-old man whose mom is a little too attached to him. Oh, wait.
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) July 25, 2017
Anyway, no one in the family liked him from the beginning, and it showed. Just at lunch, he was fielding questions from all sides and at one point had to leave the table because he was under so much pressure. At which point, Rachel jumped in to point out exactly how much she didn’t appreciate this from them.
It’s worth noting that some of us have thought Bryan was a fraud from the jump. Not that he was necessarily trying to play Rachel, but this was all effectively a game for him, to up his popularity back in Miami, where he’s just another old dude in the club. Of course, that vibe plays well on TV with a bunch of other guys from the Midwest, but in the 305, he’s nothing special. He needs this to keep his playboy vibe relevant, because that “good with my hands” line is getting old.
That said, Rachel’s family made it incredibly awkward. It might be their job to protect their girl, but she’s also a grown-up who knows her way around the world. The whole thing felt gratuitous. In chronological order, Bryan was the last to visit, which made it feel like they were just ready to have these people out of their house.
No one particularly impressed, but we did get a plethora of Constance memes and GIFs, so be ready to deploy those from here till kingdom come.
Brian: I love her I love your family
— Sofie Tapia (@sofie_tapia) July 25, 2017
This is the point where I point out that I think the word “love” should be banned from this show altogether. It would solve so many problems and force people to genuinely appreciate each other without these over-the-top declarations that add unnecessary pressure to something that is ultimately fake. I have thought this for years, and will staunchly defend that stance. Except …
Look, no one thought this dude would make it this far. He was the first person to nearly fall into Lee’s racist trap, but he made it out of that and outlasted quite a few other guys who might have had him beat on personality and emotion. And, to be even more frank, I’ve really only been talking about these other dudes for the sake of posterity, because this episode was all about Eric. Let me explain.
When this whole thing got serious, nobody counted him in. He barely made the cut to hometowns when he was part of the group date — but next thing we know, here he is, after having a legit parent reconciliation on national television. That’s important, because let’s not forget what happened to Dean, who ambushed his dad with an emotional roller coaster to the point that he ended up getting booted off the show. It was too much.
But Eric was thoughtful and patient about explaining his circumstance. His parents were separated. Love wasn’t really part of the picture. Never mind his personal circumstance of being a product of Baltimore, where the street life was a very real draw and threat at the same time. In short, he was very honest about his emotional availability. It was next to none. He’d never told a girl he loved her. The last time he’d met a woman’s family was in college at Thanksgiving, and the time before that was prom. He was at a clear disadvantage walking into that house.
Let me explain this in no uncertain terms as someone who’s been there. Eric is about as in touch as anyone I’ve ever seen in terms of being self-aware about his own insecurities regarding his family life and what he wants to get to. I’m genuinely superimpressed by his communication. It’s SO easy to psych yourself out when you see a healthy unit and sabotage yourself for the purposes of not wanting to upset someone else’s seemingly perfect situation.
“I’m nervous because going into this, I’m always confident, especially with you,” Eric says while they sip champagne atop some tower restaurant overlooking Dallas. “But it’s your family, and it’s one of those things, it’s like, I’ve never been in this process at this point. Like, about to get engaged with someone. Like, meeting someone’s family for the first time.”
At this point, Rachel seems a bit bored, if not annoyed. It feels like he’s trying to find a way to screw this up, and she ain’t got time for that. But at this point, we start to notice something in Eric we haven’t seen before. His voice is a little softer and more playful. He smiles more. He’s actually not afraid to express a little joy here and there without qualifying it. Dude is very anxious but doesn’t just have to resort to primal screams to make up for it.
When they get there, he doles out a couple of church handshakes and gets right down to business. They were openly hating since they loved Peter so much, which didn’t help his cause. Eric opened up about his lack of structured family life and says, “I’d never seen my mom and dad together.” From there, he sort of runs through it as the soft piano plays, but that sentence is important, and I say that from personal experience.
If you’ve got a parent who’s dead, or lives overseas, or is in jail, that’s one experience. But if you’ve got two able-bodied people who simply do not want to be in each other’s company and happen to be your parents, it’s a situation that affects you a little differently. For example, I have exactly one picture of me, my mother and my father in the same place at the same time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand exactly what Eric was going through in this moment, sitting in this house with a squad of people who’ve all done well to establish themselves together.
“I’m listening to Eric talk as we meet him,” Constance says. “I’m watching Eric’s reaction, I’m watching Rachel, comparing it to what she had with Peter, and I’m thinking, I don’t know if they’re on the same playing field as far as, you know, relationshipwise.”
Of course they aren’t. But that’s the whole point. Eric is really and truly trying to better his situation from an emotional health and life prospects standpoint. He doesn’t have random reservations about getting down on a knee more than once in his life. Nor is his mom going to crash-land his relationship and ruin anything.
Constance gave him the third degree, and he was honest with her about never having been in love. He notes that he’s grown to this point, which is about as honest a thing as you’ll hear on a show like this, ever. Rachel’s cousin likes Eric better than Peter. “He’s not a fairy-tale person. He’s very real,” she said.
“I love her in a way, unconditionally. I’m not in love with her, but for me, when I say those words and I give that, it means a lot to me. The way I look at it, I’m here for you no matter what,” Eric says. “I just want her to know that I can be the man I know I am.”
This is the point where I stood up on my couch in my Whaboom tank top and started applauding. Personal connection aside, I’m completely in the tank for this dude in life, never mind the show. He’s the only black man left. He’s showed his actual self on camera, and perhaps most importantly, as a result he genuinely has become a cooler dude as the show has gone on. You can’t make this stuff up. Sure, edits help. But take it from me: It’s not easy to fake it when you don’t know what it looks like to begin with.
Honestly, the rest of this episode was a bit of a blur. There’s only so long I can listen to a man try to explain his way through the cobwebs of his heart on TV before I just start crying and thinking about all the mistakes and missteps I’ve made in life as a result of fear, hubris or some dumb combination of both.
No roses were given out at the end of the episode, which featured a “to be continued …,” but the story of the day for me was Eric. When he smiled after telling Rachel he loved her, you could just feel all that weight come off his chest — not because he’d been holding it in, but because he’d been wanting to feel it.
No matter what happens in the rest of this season, we got to witness a real breakthrough for a person on television this week. Good for him, and good for anyone who respects how hard it is sometimes to show the world who you really are, because you barely know how to show yourself that person either.
Tierra R. Wilkins contributed to this report.
Daily Dose: 7/25/17
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert apologizes to the city of Detroit
1:02 PMSome of y’all are still arguing over what happened with Lawrence on Insecure, but let’s not overlook the tremendous sweatshirt that Issa Rae was wearing at one point. If you want to know where to find it, it’s here.
Detroit is 85% Black.
This poster is 0% Black. pic.twitter.com/zsro697ZYN
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) July 23, 2017
You might know Dan Gilbert as the owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. But he’s also a big landowner in Detroit. And by landowner, I mean part of one of the bigger real estate undertakings in the Motor City. His company, Bedrock, posted the above ad for an office building downtown. Clearly, this is nowhere close to representative of what that city looks like, so the words of that slogan are doubly insulting. Well, Gilbert apologized. And it wasn’t just a my bad, it was actually pretty lengthy and detailed, so good for him, I guess.
Life can be a hassle. Staying organized, between identification, money and keys, is not exactly the easiest task. So what better way to handle one of those tasks than letting your employer embed a microchip in your hand, right? All you’ve got to do is swipe your claws around the office to get into the building, or to buy lunch! So, convenient, no? If my bank could do this so I didn’t have to carry money around, I’d consider it. But, for the most part, having the job to track your every movement is suboptimal for basically everyone on earth.
If you ever doubted that John McCain was an American hero, you can put that to rest. The Arizona senator — who was captured in Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war before going on to an illustrious political career, including a run for president — was diagnosed with brain cancer last week. But he’s coming back to the Senate on Tuesday because his nation needs him on the latest Republican health care bill. This isn’t just a matter of optics and symbolism — his vote is critical. He could be the difference in whether America takes care of itself.
Robert Griffin III has one more chance in the NFL. After he was run into the ground in Washington, thus torpedoing his career for one playoff win, he was forced to sit an entire season. Then he split with his wife, and before the divorce papers were dry he was having another baby with an Estonian heptathlete. Oh, and wearing suits on the beach. Now, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to bring him in for a workout. The issue wasn’t the talent most recently. It was the ability to stay on the field.
Coffee Break: When I first heard “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” in a Samuel Adams ad, I wasn’t disappointed. Such is the life cycle of popular and transcendent music genres. Now, the RZA is teaming up with Chipotle to bring you original beats. You can make your own, too!
Snack Time: If you’ve ever wondered why Anthony Scaramucci was brought back to the White House after being rebuffed for a job the first time around? Well, he had to complete his “How to Act Like Donald Trump” training.
This is genuinely brilliant pic.twitter.com/j3C4dwyC0k
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) July 25, 2017
Dessert: When Curren$y drops new mixtapes, I keep you informed. Behold, The Champagne Files.
Daily Dose: 7/24/17
‘Girls Trip’ excels at box office over the weekend
12:55 PMWe’re still in the dog days of summer, and it feels like it’s never going to end. But HBO’s Insecure is back, which means the Twitter timeline is going crazy. The Morning Roast was also an NFL takeover, although we did talk a lot of hoops too.
I'm going to crowdsource this, then write about it. When you hear 'minority' do you primarily associate it with 'persecuted' or 'subverted'?
— Fungo Velo (@clintonyates) July 24, 2017
One of my heroes died Saturday. After a short battle with cancer, the man who exuded cool and was the pride and joy of black Washington, Jim Vance, passed at the age of 75. He was a reporter and news anchor at NBC4 in D.C. for nearly 50 years, which is much longer than I’ve been on this earth. Even though we suspected it would be soon, this news hit many people, not just in the news industry but also around the community in general, extremely hard. Vance was our rock, our soothing voice, our stalwart. When I heard the news, I poured my heart out.
You could call it palace intrigue, but alas, there is no king. The week in politics has started off with a bang, and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is saying publicly that he did not collude with Russia in any way. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who many people think is likely on his way out of that job, actually was called “beleaguered” by the president, which is about as weird as it gets. He picked Sessions, mind you. Let’s not forget that Trump’s lawyer is also insinuating that the president might actually pardon himself in this situation. Yikes.
It’s amazing what happens when you make a movie with black women, apparently. Turns out, tons of people go to see it. This is still news in Hollywood, but Girls Trip did an incredible job at the box office this weekend for its opener, to the tune of $30M, which is no small matter. It came in second in the country, and I can’t imagine it will slow down too much, considering how topical it is as a summer film. It’s also worth noting that the film’s director, Malcolm D. Lee, just signed a first-look deal with Universal, so make sure to watch his space.
The Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight has reached peak ridiculous. Draymond Green, as in of the Golden State Warriors, decided he was going to take a shot at McGregor via Instagram, which tells me that Dray has a little too much time on his hands this summer. But because McGregor is never one to back down from a fight, no matter how petty, he jumped into the comments and fired back at Green, saying that he was rocking a C.J. Watson jersey in fact, which is basically the weakest comeback ever. This bout can’t be over soon enough.
Coffee Break: The things that happen in American prisons, as a matter of course, are typically pretty unspeakable. Between prisoner abuse, overcrowding and our general predilection toward locking people up forever, it’s bad. Now, a jail in Tennessee is offering vasectomies for reduced prison time. This is not OK.
Snack Time: I love a good carbonara. Simple, elegant and delicious without being overpowered with flavors that are doing too much. But this recipe? Well, it caused some controversy.
Dessert: I don’t want nor need to know what Fat Joe is going for here, but it will always be hilarious to me.
The Morning Roast: 7/23/17
It’s NFL Nation takeover weekend, folks
11:50 AMTraining camp is upon us, so ESPN’s 32 NFL Nation reporters have been hitting the bricks all weekend, appearing all over the network to get fans ready for the season. Things were no different this week with the roasters.
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With Kyrie Irving demanding out of Cleveland via a trade, we wonder: Is playing for LeBron James the actual issue here, or does Uncle Drew really want to lead a team? If the point guard were to get dealt, it would have reasonably large ramifications across the rest of the NBA. But there are also quite a few other people looking to make moves, including Derrick Rose, who might be headed to a contender.
Of course, no one needs NFL experts when Mina Kimes is around, because she basically knows everything about the league. No, seriously. So she ran down her top storyline of the season at this point, and we even got our full NFL highlight music to boot, a theme we’d return to quite frequently.
After that, we chatted with Michael Rothstein, who covers the Detroit Lions. He was refreshingly honest about their chances in the upcoming season to win the NFC North — which, as long as the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers are still in the division, isn’t going to be a realistic goal. We also got an update on where things stand with franchise legend Calvin Johnson, who apparently might be looking to get back into football.
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Of course, former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been dominating the headlines recently because of his proclivity for calling escorts using his state-funded cellphone. He’s out of a job, and his predecessor, Houston Nutt, is the one who dropped a dime on him. But there was one detail of the story that went slightly underreported. The university had to cancel its annual event to teach ladies about college football, at which the parting gift was of, course, a cookbook. From there begat an entire separate conversation about which workshops and seminars we would launch if we could.
ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals, joined us to talk about where that squad could be headed, which subsequently turned into a long discussion about whether the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best team in the AFC North, or is it the Ravens. And we got more storylines from Mina.
By the time we got around to talking about The Bachelorette, Christian Yates had made it back from his artisan shoehorn pop-up shop at the yacht club to discuss the hometown visits. The Dean situation was the primary discussion, considering how poorly things went with his father on the show. Also, however, as the one who’s gone now, we had to speculate on who’s got the best chance to win going forward.
For Top 5, Domonique Foxworth was impressed by LeBron James’ sneak diss move toward his teammate Irving in which he put out a video listening to a Meek Mill song about loyalty. It was beyond petty, but who knows what his intentions were? Also, there’s Nutt’s incredible takedown of Ole Miss, which is one of the best sneak disses of all time. So we made it a Top 5, and Mr. Foxworth dominated.
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The takeover continued with John Keim, who covers Washington’s NFL franchise. Clinton Yates managed to keep his yelling to a minimum, and they broke down exactly why Kirk Cousins might have a great year. After breaking down the defense, Foxworth did his best to get his co-host riled up, and it just might have worked. Barely.
Speaking of franchises in a relatively reasonable state of flux, the Dallas Cowboys are having offseason issues. Quite a few players have had minor situations, but not enough to necessarily cause large-scale overhauls, which got Domonique thinking. There is a sliding scale of offenses that will trigger major penalties, depending on the number of touchdowns you score. The same works for coaches with off-field infractions. Big scorer? Get away with more stuff. Simple as that. He explains it in more detail.
Lastly, we talked to Seattle Seahawks reporter Sheil Kapadia, who was smart enough to admit that he didn’t even know as much about the team as Mina, which is a great way to ingratiate yourself to the program.
Daily Dose: 7/21/17
Minneapolis marches for Justine Damond
10:58 AMWhat’s up, gang? I’ll be on Outside the Lines on Friday at 1 p.m., if you want to tune in. It’s the Friday Four panel, so it should be a good time. Clearly, there’s quite a bit to talk about.
Top 5 black TV shows:
2. Fresh Prince
3. Different World
4. Living Single
5. Those 3 episodes of South Central.
— Joel D. Anderson (@byjoelanderson) July 20, 2017
The murder of Justine Damond was pointless, scary and problematic. We’ve heard the story a million times before. An officer was scared and in such fear that he shot and killed an innocent, unarmed person. Often, it’s a white officer shooting a black person. In this case, roles were reversed and a lot of people are suddenly paying a lot more attention to the injustice because Damond doesn’t look like, say, Philando Castile. That includes the man who represents both families in court, which tells you all you need to know about black lives in the U.S.
Being a black woman in Hollywood isn’t easy. Landing lead roles is just not something that happens. In addition, when you do land one, the industry typically wants to put you in a support role and expects you to act a certain way. There’s not a whole ton of room in a major motion picture for, say, a black woman who’s bookish and quiet. And for women in comedic roles, it’s a whole other ballgame. The Los Angeles Times talked to 18 black female comics about how old stereotypes are still affecting casting decisions.
Margaritas are a perfect summer drink. You’ve got a solid amount of citrus and enough salt to keep your taste buds moving, and you can even go the slushy route if you so choose. But margs can be quite dangerous, as we all know that tequila can be rather sneaky. Not to mention that there are a thousand different ways to make one and, depending on where you are, you’ll get a different combo. But because the folks down at FiveThirtyEight are doing the Lord’s work, they figured out the perfect recipe. You know, for science, or something.
Derrick Rose might find another NBA home. And it might be LeBron James’. Frankly, this is shocking on quite a few levels, as the point guard hasn’t really been a player of impact for some time in the league, not to mention the fact that he went through a rather ugly court case in the interim. But the Cleveland Cavaliers need a backup point guard, and if Rose can find his old form, he could be a solid addition to the Eastern Conference champions. Apparently the Los Angeles Lakers are interested too, which makes even less sense to me.
Coffee Break: First, it was an all-encompassing Star Wars hotel that might be too much even for diehard fans like me. Now, Disney is creating a Marvel hotel, which is guaranteed to be a monster hit. It’ll be at Disneyland Paris, which I’ve been to, and is definitely pretty cool.
Snack Time: The Hundreds is a streetwear brand that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. But they’re a whole lot more than just T-shirts. This interview with Bobby Hundreds about how he built his empire is fascinating.
Dessert: NAV & Metro Boomin’s new heat is out, just in time for the weekend.