Daily Dose: 1/31/17
LeBron James is not here for Charles Barkley’s foolishness
10:45 AMDon’t look now, but my Washington Wizards are actually looking like a respectable franchise. It is January, though.
Sally Yates is obviously a woman of principle. Instead of bending to President Donald Trump’s immigration order, she basically told everyone that she didn’t know if it was lawful and didn’t feel the need to enforce it. To be clear, this is exactly what an attorney general is supposed to do, as the person operates as part of the checks and balances system. So, Trump fired her, with a bizarre tweetstorm of an official statement at that. There’s some particular irony in this case, because when she was being confirmed, guess who asked her if she had any backbone?
Sally Yates. pic.twitter.com/OWMfpwRGIa
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 31, 2017
If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, you probably avoided Skid Row. The last time I was there, I went to a party that took my cab driver through said section of town and he nervously asked me the whole time if I was headed to the right place because he didn’t want to stop the car. It’s the city’s homeless district and its reputation, though earned, doesn’t mean that those who live there aren’t actual people. Last week, the third annual Carnival of Love was held there. While it was a day of attempted joy, the larger question of how this tackles the long-term problem is one worth reading about.
Here’s the thing about the SAG Awards: They do influence how people feel about the Oscars. Not because it necessarily changes votes, but it gives you an idea as to where people are regarding what they think is a worthy winner. So, after the Golden Globes, the SAGs, we get a much better idea of where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is likely going with its picks. Check out how last weekend’s victors might have altered what we see on Oscar night in a couple of weeks.
LeBron James came for Charles Barkley’s whole life. Barkley has been harping on James for some time, calling him all sorts of names over the years and, beyond that, continuously tried to tear down his reputation and legacy for whatever reason. On Monday night, The King wasn’t having it and destroyed the Chuck Wagon, calling him a hater and summarily pointing out all the foolishness that Barkley has embarked on over the years. Look, I love Barkley, but he’s long been out of pocket on this one. He deserves every bit of this.
Coffee Break: Speaking of coming for people’s lives, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank had no regard for New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft during a live television interview Monday at the Super Bowl. My man cold put him on blast regarding Trump and had no qualms about it.
Snack Time: If you like records, as in the vinyl industry specifically, and you like Jamaica, this is a documentary for you. A short film about the record industry in the island nation and its forgotten roots.
Dessert: Rest in peace, Chuck Stewart.
Taylor Bennett releases short film
It’s called ‘Broad Shoulders’ and hits its notes perfectly
5:00 PMWhen Taylor Bennett’s Broad Shoulders dropped last December, it was a head-first dive into a full-length LP from a teenager who was probably best known for being Chance The Rapper’s kid brother. With sample-free production from Ludlow and many others, it established Bennett as more than just a younger facsimile of his more famous musical family member. Now, the two have a movie by the same name.
As a short film with no actual dialogue, it feels more like an EP of music videos, which is not a bad thing. The tale follows a day or so in the life of two lovers trying to figure out just how much they care about each other. It’s a story that’s as lovely visually as it is musically. Directed by Heston Charres, we get a glimpse into what a summer night in Chicago looks like these days for Taylor.
With roles as “girl” and “the next girl,” Maggie Thompson and Corinne Natyshak, respectively, come off the screen as far more than just side props to flesh out Bennett’s love interests. You might have seen Natyshak’s work in various other places around the showbiz scene.
Ultimately, it feels like a perfect project for Bennett at this point of his career. Here’s the album.
Marshawn Lynch rocks Scotland with Skittles
Beast Mode makes friends ahead of the Super Bowl
4:45 PMMarshawn Lynch is a national treasure. This is a known fact. When he goes overseas, he becomes an international treasure. Take for example when he turned up on a random guy’s Twitter feed popping wheelies across the pond, nearly getting hit by a bus after finishing his trick. It was a perfect moment of bicycle diplomacy to remind the globe of the importance of transportation safety. It also served as great reminder that, in some places, they drive on the other side of the road. Obviously a preplanned win-win that only #BeastMode could orchestrate.
But his latest dabbling in international relations is his best. We now know why he was in Scotland riding without a helmet (stars, they’re just like us!): He was working. His love for Skittles is well-known, and now that he’s a brand ambassador for the candy outfit, he’s sharing the rainbow everywhere he can. Naturally, because it’s Super Bowl week, he took his talents to Houston, Scotland.
Someone give this man a travel show. I’d watch it anytime. Including ridiculous o’clock.
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Daily Dose: 1/30/17
Black actors shine at SAG Awards
Americans stood up over the weekend against Donald Trump, again. This time it was to demonstrate against the president’s latest executive order focused on immigrants from certain nations, while ostensibly claiming to want to ban terrorists. It is clearly an unduly limitation on all sorts of people, mainly Muslims. At airports across the United States, the message was clear: This is unacceptable.
Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards produced some beautiful results. Mahershala Ali, who was nominated for Moonlight, won the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, and his speech was tremendous. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis won for their performances in Fences, and Hidden Figures won a cast award. Quite a few acceptance speeches were aimed at the man in the White House.
— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) January 30, 2017
Kim Kardashian won’t be getting her jewelry back. At least, most of it, that is. Back when she was the victim of a scary situation in which she was tied and gagged, while gunmen underwent a massive heist of her bling during Fashion Week in Paris, it seemed like just getting away with her life was a blessing. Now, one of the masterminds of said operation has details on just what happened to all of that stuff and precisely how easy it was to steal it.
If you weren’t familiar, Steve Kerr’s dad was assassinated by a terrorist. So, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors is well familiar with how global politics affect home life as an American. On Sunday night, after his team’s win against the Portland Trail Blazers, Kerr was asked about Trump’s immigration ban. He’s been very outspoken regarding the White House’s policies and his answer this time was just what you might expect.
Coffee Break: It wasn’t all gravy in Hollywood this week. At an event that was designed to celebrate women in film, Salma Hayek was all the way out of pocket when she came for Jessica Williams, who handled the situation with more grace than she ever needed to. Hayek was foul.
Snack Time: Kirk Franklin might be a man of the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t catch a slug if you run up in his crib talking crazy. All, of course, in the name of Jesus, that is.
Dessert: Here’s your first look at Ocean’s 8, which, for my money, is starring Rihanna.
Daily Dose: 1/27/17
The Winter X Games are underway
6:49 PMAlright kiddos, it’s been a wild week, but it’s finally Friday afternoon. I feel like my brain is about to completely melt just trying to keep up with the White House.
This situation with Mexico is very awkward. Our neighbors to the south are basically in a weird war of words with the president and there’s no real solution to the matter. First their president was supposed to come here to meet. Then, he backed out. Trump acted like it was a mutual decision, but we all know the truth. This wall argument is the dumbest thing ever, but at least the two managed to talk: albeit by phone.
The Winter X Games are the best. I far prefer them to the summer variety, simply because snowboarding is just incredible. Throw in snowmobiling, nevermind skiing and it’s basically full carnage down the mountain at all times. It’s really remarkable to watch sometimes and the points of danger are very real. Which is why course design is such an important part of the process. Check out this deep dive in to how it’s done.
Brawls in basketball tend to be rather insane. The long arms, the big bodies, it’s a totally different situation from other sports where there’s all sorts of padding and equipment and space to keep things from boiling over. But last night in the Lousiana Tech/UAB game things got NUTS. The police had to get involved and LA Tech was left with just four players at the end of the game. What a mess.
The Super Bowl just got an interesting new act. Not the halftime, though. The cast of Hamilton is going to sing America The Beautiful before the game, which is about the best case scenario for that song being involved at all, which is never needs to be. Of course with the state of this nation, it’s likely to be a rather rousing rendition since emotions will be running super high in Houston that week.
Coffee Break: I love the Rookie Game during NBA All-Star Weekend. Ever since Jason Williams did that around the back bump pass thing, it’s been the best event on the slate for a long while. And this year’s roster is absolutely stacked. This is a must watch.
Snack Time: If you don’t know the difference between weaves, extensions and wigs, Zendaya is here to bless you with the knowledge.
Dessert: Good for you, Roxane Gay. Good for you.
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?
Snoop Dogg to participate in NHL All-Star Weekend
as a DJ during the skills competition, which is tremendous
2:42 PMYou’ve got to give it to the NHL for trying. In bringing its All-Star Weekend lineup, the league has branched out beyond what the typical “hockey demographic” might expect by bringing in stars that many people actually know, to try to create some buzz around the product. With the festivities beginning Friday in Los Angeles, we have the privilege of enjoying a California legend on the wheels of steel during the best part of the entire program.
If you don’t know, it’s easily the most exciting part of the three-day affair because the players let loose, the challenges are actually competitive and now that the NHL is adding an element of outside fun, this promises to be excellent. To be fair, this isn’t a total celebrity grab for the league, either. Snoop has been known to show up to hockey games for some time in Southern California, and he’s been supporting pucks from a style standpoint for more than 20 years.
In the 1993 video for Gin and Juice, he rocks not one, but two hockey sweaters, including one from a minor league team. Back then, no one in the game was remotely putting on for the American Hockey League, never mind the NHL. You had never heard of the Springfield Indians before that, and don’t try to act like you did.
Beyond random jerseys, though, Snoop’s never been afraid to mix it up with actual hockey personalities on-air, either. The cultural connectivity between Canadian commentators trying to bridge the divide between themselves and Long Beach, California, was always fun to watch.
Here he is at his first game, a visit to the rink motivated by his son.
Here’s another interview with him from what might be the same Ducks game? The intro line is hilarious.
Perhaps his finest hockey moment, however, came during an interview with Narduwar in Vancouver back in 2010. “I was the first rapper to wear hockey jerseys in videos, onstage, everywhere I went. That was my look,” Snoop said. “I was trying to do something that was different and I respected hockey ’cause hockey is a tough sport and it takes a real man to play hockey, so I was trying to be different by doing that.”
Well done, NHL. This probably should have happened a long time ago.
Daily Dose: 1/26/17
Which Williams sister are you rooting for in the Australian Open?
In less than a week, President Donald Trump has made his mark. With a flurry of executive initiatives, gag orders and other political maneuvers, he’s revealed his character as a relatively insecure person who lets any and all television coverage drive his policy decisions. He’s had to walk back his goals on the Mexico wall. He thinks waterboarding works. And some say the United States is no longer a full democracy. He sat down for an exclusive with ABC’s David Muir. Yikes.
While the Oscars have made some progress, it ain’t all sweet. Remember last year, when Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation was torpedoed from a buzz standpoint due to the resurfacing of his 1999 rape case? Well, Casey Affleck hasn’t seen near the amount of backlash for sexual harassment cases that aren’t nearly as old, from an Oscars point of view. Constance Wu of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat isn’t having that and likens support for him as a nod to the president.
The city of Chicago and basketball have a longstanding relationship. For those nationally, a lot of that is due to Michael Jordan. But the Second City has clearly been turning out tremendous players before and after that on every level. But not all ballers are stars. Check out this story of a Muslim basketball league in Chicago that’s served as a great community resource for adult athletes just looking for a place to play.
Twenty years later, they’ve done it again. The Williams sisters are going to face each other in the finals of the Australian Open, which is flat-out amazing. It’s the ninth time it will have happened. Venus Williams beat Coco Vandeweghe in three sets and Serena Williams bested Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in less than an hour. There’s a bit of an internal conflict here, though. If Venus at 36 wins another major, that’ll be beautiful. But if Serena can get it done, she moves one step closer to the all-time record. I’m genuinely not sure who to root for.
Coffee Break: If you want to get an idea of just where many people are in this country, take a look at the University of Wisconsin, where students think that establishing an alt-right presence will actually help things on campus. What is this, Higher Learning?
Snack Time: If you’re looking for a gift for that special David Bowie fan in your life, this new collection of stamps bearing his likeness is probably a solid selection. They’re English, though.
Dessert: The homey Knxwledge dropped a nice little remix EP that’ll keep your week moving.