D.C.’s Ben’s Chili Bowl paints over Bill Cosby mural
and eliminates portrait of President Barack Obama, too
3:45 PMBen’s Chili Bowl still doesn’t get it. The iconic Washington, D.C., restaurant that for decades has symbolized the soul of black Washington continues to cape for Bill Cosby, a longtime friend of the family business and champion of the establishment, even as sexual assault accusers continue to come forward against the legendary comedian. In 2012, a mural bearing the faces of Cosby, then-President Barack Obama, local radio icon Donnie Simpson and the Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown was painted along the building’s west wall.
In 2014, as details of Cosby’s sordid past became more public knowledge, many (including this writer) figured it was time for the restaurant to remove his likeness from its exterior. They scoffed, calling him a family friend and basically taking an “innocent until proven guilty” stance on the matter. This week, they literally glossed over the problem.
Claiming wear and tear, the mural has been painted over in its entirety, thus deleting not only Cosby’s image, but also the other four from the wall, as well. Originally painted by artist Aniekan Udofia, the restaurant is now holding a vote to see what will replace it.
“Now, after five years of braving the elements, it’s time to refresh and repaint the mural and we want your input,” the website reads. “Thanks for your support and suggestions for our 2017 mural coming to you this spring.”
— Charity $ims (@charcsims) January 20, 2017
First of all, this still doesn’t address the very obvious elephant in the room about their second-most famous customer (Obama being the first.) Secondly, did you really have to wipe out the other three figures in order to touch up the wall? Also, Cosby’s name is still on the list of available options of faces to adorn the new mural. Seriously? You had a chance to let this go away, even if in a relatively backhanded fashion, but no.
In addition, some of the names on this list, I just don’t understand. Anthony Bourdain? Ellen DeGeneres? Jimmy Fallon? Rachel Ray? Look, we understand that the place is basically a tourist trap during daylight hours at this point, but come on. They’ve also allowed people to vote on groupings of six people, which are more thematically based, or you can write in names if you so choose, as well.
At that point, why not Harambe?
All Day Podcast: 1/24/17
It’s Oscar season and New Edition is back to breaking hearts
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The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, so we invited The Undefeated’s senior entertainment writer, Kelley Carter, into Studio D410 to talk about that and her favorite subject in the whole world: New Edition. She compiled an oral history of their album Heart Break, which was released in 1988 on MCA Records. The piece runs just in time for those of you who are watching BET’s three-part miniseries, The New Edition Story, which is airing this week.
In addition, Kelley broke down this year’s Oscar nominations, which have featured far more people of color this year than previously. You might recall that the academy made a concerted effort to expand the type of individuals who vote on these awards. Though there might not necessarily be any direct connection between how these two things work, the difference is obvious from two years ago.
Lastly, the gang talked about Jay Z’s newest deal with Sprint, which should bolster Tidal’s presence in the streaming music market. The only one in the group who actually subscribes to Jay Z’s service is Jill Hudson, so she offered some insight into what the service is actually like.
WorldStarHipHop founder dies
Lee ‘Q’ O’Denat was 43
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With profound sadness, WorldStarHipHop and its employees, state that Lee ODenat, known as “Q”, the founder, leader and genius behind the website and brand has passed in San Diego. Q was a brilliant businessman who championed urban culture, ultimately creating the largest hiphop website in the world. But more than that, he was a devoted father and one of the nicest, most generous persons to ever grace this planet. We will miss his hearty laugh and warm spirit. WorldStarHipHop will continue in its various endeavors. We ask that you remember Q in your prayers and raise a toast to the sky in his name.
Lee “Q” O’Denat will never get the credit he deserves. The creator of WorldStarHipHop died in San Diego while visiting a massage parlor, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fittingly, TMZ first reported his death. He was 43 years old. He’s no longer with us, but the impact of the website he created, while measurable in clicks and page views, cannot be overvalued from a culture standpoint.
Among a certain cadre of people who consider themselves tastemakers, WSHH was an ugly duckling that grew into not a beautiful swan, but a hulklike mutant that permanently realigned the balance of power in hip-hop and, to an extent, black culture altogether. For every absurd fight video, there might have been a reasonable mixtape to listen to. For all the random montages of women with few clothes on, there was some kid dancing his face off in a living room that made you wonder when they’d be famous.
"American Home Funniest Video" is the white mans "Worldstar Hiphop" for the '90s
— lee (@yungpistachio) January 15, 2017
Wow, RIP World Star Q. As as complicated of a legacy as it gets, but easily one of the most influential hip-hop figures of the millennium.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) January 24, 2017
By balancing the boom of the internet as an independent distribution platform and a proverbial renaissance of ratchet, WSHH embodied everything about a world that wasn’t ready to accept it as a major player in the game. You didn’t have to like it, but the site had legit exclusive content. It’s particularly sad because WSHH had just inked a deal with MTV2 to create a television series.
There’s speculation that heart failure, brought on by obesity issues, was the cause of death for O’Denat. If so, it’s another reminder of how maintaining healthy habits is something that so many black men have difficulty doing in many parts of America. You can scream “Worldstar!” next time you go to the doctor. It just might save your life.
Q revolutionized hip hop and urban media with world star hip hop. R.I.P
— $trokes Blackaveli (@Richbla37722012) January 24, 2017
The site has no plans to shutter, and his loss created shockwaves around the hip-hop world.
Daily Dose: 1/25/17
Usain Bolt loses a gold medal, nine years later
12:00 PMJust in time for the Oscars and the New Edition miniseries on BET, we talked to our senior entertainment reporter Kelley L. Carter on the All Day Podcast. You can tune in here and subscribe here.
President Donald Trump is caught in a lie. And he’s willing to spend your tax dollars to try to get out of it. Here’s the issue, though – you can’t just walk into a room and tell members of Congress that you think “illegals” (no human is illegal by the way) stole votes during the national election. That’s not a claim you can just lob out there. Because if you think that’s true, there’s a larger issue at hand than just the legitimacy of your own presidency. And so, media members said, if it’s so bad, why not investigate? Now, he is. We’ll believe that when we see it.
When they tell you who was the leader of the resistance movement, make sure to pay attention. Teen Vogue, a publication for young women that’s led by a black woman, will be on the list. As will the social media director of a national park. You might not have guessed those immediately, but then again, that’s why we’re here. Whoever handles the Twitter feed of the Badlands National Park took direct aim at many of the president’s claims and policies from their official account by posting facts. Many of those have now been deleted.
Discussing the nominees for the Oscars is one thing. But figuring out who’s going to win is another. Some of these categories are extremely stacked and one that immediately comes to mind is that of the documentaries. Three of them are primarily about black folks and all of them are tremendous, so, somebody is going to miss out. If it were any other year, they’d all be favorites to win. Anyways, take a look at this statistical breakdown of who’s most likely to walk away with a gold trophy at the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Usain Bolt is a gold medal short, thanks to doping. Not his doping, but that of a teammate. The superstar Jamaican sprinter had one from the 2008 Olympics repealed after it was found that a member of his relay team, Nesta Carter, was on a banned stimulant. Seems like an awful long time later for this to come out, but whatever. I also wonder if they have to actually return the physical object. Because not everyone keeps those. What if you’d sold it off, then what? Who knows. Anyway, Bolt is down to eight golds, which puts him behind Carl Lewis.
Coffee Break: I can’t even explain to you how much we love #SaltBae around here. The Turkish butcher, who rose to fame with his balletlike knife skills because of Black Twitter, is now opening up his own places in New York and London. Fam says he wants to communicate with people through meat, which is a really funny thing to say.
Snack Time: Our thoughts and prayers are with Erin Andrews, who’s gone through so much publicly in her career. This story about her most recent battle, this time with her own body is inspirational.
Dessert: Hey, Aussie Open. Get your social media people. This is wack.
Ice Cube’s Hollywood takeover continues
The rapper-turned-actor’s production company gets major investment from Hong Kong-based company
1:00 PM“Yeah, I’ll check out a movie, but it’ll take a black one to move me.”
That’s what Public Enemy’s Chuck D said on the 1990 single Burn Hollywood Burn, an uptempo track that highlighted the history of negative portrayals of black characters in film and television. Nearly 30 years later, the man who penned the second verse on that track, Ice Cube, is still fighting that cause.
This week, Cube Vision signed a film deal with AID Partners, reportedly in the eight-figure territory, which basically allows the company to develop projects as it sees fit, with its own people, and not be subjected to the foolishness that is the studio development process. And last month, Cube Vision signed a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox to create television projects for both on-air and streaming platforms.
“It’s hard to think of a more multidimensional artist than Ice Cube, whose influence on the culture and enormous talent is virtually unrivaled. He’s a performer, a songwriter, a recording artist, an actor and a filmmaker, and his work speaks to a broad, multigenerational audience,” Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman told Deadline at the time.
Don’t look now, but Cube’s made almost 20 movies. You can say what you want about the quality of said films, but there’s no denying at this point that his moves away from the music game are now far enough away from just being a foray designed to cash in on his popularity as a rapper. Cube is a filmmaker and one who’s been as productive as almost any other in the black community in the past 15 years. He’s not just beating people up on camera, he’s creating opportunities for people of color in the film world to create.
Then again, we knew he was one of the smartest people in Los Angeles when he walked away from N.W.A. in the first place.
Daily Dose: 1/24/17
It should be an interesting year at the 89th annual Academy Awards
12:30 PMMonday night’s episode of The Bachelor was the best of the season so far. Slowly, but surely, we’re going to get Domonique Foxworth to watch the show. Right now, he’s just got fire takes about who should actually win.
The nominees for the Academy Awards are out. By the way, let’s not forget that the creator of #OscarsSoWhite is April Reign. That said, the Academy is apparently trying to change things on that front, and this year, in the best picture category there are three films that are primarily dealing with black folks: Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures. Also, O.J. Made in America made the list for documentaries. There were some rather surprising snubs, mostly in the animated movie realm. Here’s the full list.
The White House has a loose relationship with the truth. Press Secretary Sean Spicer is clearly not a guy who plans on doing anything other than President Donald Trump’s bidding, which while it is his job also affects him personally. If you’re wondering, by the way, it’s not like the chain of command at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is super stable. Spicer is having trouble understanding why so many people are constantly critical of the administration he’s a part of. He’s also doing a really bad job of explaining why their propaganda game is so ineffective.
Losing games to computers is nothing new. Every night when I play FIFA 17 on my Xbox, I’m likely to lose to the system at least once. But back in the ’80s, chess masters started playing against computers as a way to test their abilities, which is a totally different monster than me sitting on my couch. Now it appears that the machines are coming for the latest televised nonsport game that has taken over the nation: poker. For someone who doesn’t play poker, I can’t imagine this will improve the television product, but as a stunt, it is intriguing.
The Washington Wizards want so bad to be relevant. They’ve managed to pull that off in the past few weeks in the NBA, ascending all the way to fifth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve developed a little thing with the Boston Celtics, which is cute. Regular-season rivalries are always a tad awkward when neither team is particularly good otherwise. Now, the Zardos are saying they plan to wear all black to their game Tuesday night. Cool, guys. Good to see the squad is focused on what matters.
Coffee Break: Over the years, MTV has rolled out a variety of shows that changed the course of pop culture. My Super Sweet 16 is one of them. If you don’t recall, it was basically Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for teenagers looking to celebrate their birthdays. Now, MTV is bringing it back. This is going to be excellent.
Snack Time: It never ceases to impress me which parts of the globe hip-hop stretches to, often as a voice for those who otherwise are silenced. Check out this story about how the Iranian diaspora is now in the game.
Dessert: Post Malone’s new video with Quavo for Congratulations feels like it was a lot of fun to shoot.
Daily Dose: 1/23/17
‘Star Wars’ announces new title
3:30 PMThis week’s show was a good one on The Morning Roast. Mina told a pretty incredible story about meeting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown when she was at a group dinner and ended up in a pretty awkward sitch.
We’ve got a new name for the next Star Wars film. It’ll be called The Last Jedi, which is apparently super controversial to people who don’t understand that the plural of Jedi is “Jedi Knights.” Seriously, people are going insane over this, which is beyond bizarre to me. It’s just a title, kiddos. That said, it is an intriguing one. The obvious question is: Who is that going to be? It also sets up a clear path in which the universe we know as Star Wars changes fundamentally going forward if Jedi Knights are no longer involved. It’ll be out just before Christmas.
The Women’s March on Washington was a huge deal. Its crowds dwarfed the actual presidential inauguration by a wide margin and was a major success not just in the capital but also across the country, too. People were protesting and supporting as far as Anchorage and Antarctica, which is wild on many levels. Perhaps most importantly though was the response the march received worldwide. The current situation with the commander in chief is one that is of international importance. Here’s why people across the globe decided they wanted to join in.
Donald Trump is off and signing these days. On Monday, he banged out a couple of executive orders, one of which pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and put a hiring freeze on federal workers. There’s something particularly odd about the smug look on his face when signing these papers, as if the act of being able to do it is more important than what the actual piece of paper says. Seriously, what is the point of holding up a piece of paper you just signed? He also has a “I’m writing with a pen” face, which is kind of funny.
If you had to watch the Super Bowl in one city, which would it be? Houston? Because that’s where it’ll be. But I imagine that watching the game in Atlanta will probably be a blast, too. This matchup is also somewhat politically loaded. Everyone knows about the New England Patriots’ relationship with the president and we all remember how Trump decided to diss Rep. John Lewis, whose congressional district spans parts of Atlanta. All that aside, this game is likely to be a major shootout.
Coffee Break: If you want to get a good idea of how pervasive the concept of race is when it comes to law enforcement, check out this story about two police officers who tasered an official race relations adviser because they thought he looked like a wanted criminal. Unreal.
Snack Time: Don’t ever forget that Joe Biden is a savage in these political streets. My man cold punked Mike Pence to his face and didn’t even break stride. The former vice president’s photo-op game is next level.
Dessert: By the way, if you want to leave a comment for the White House, you must have internet now.