What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 2/6/17

Can urban farming save Detroit?

12:00 PMWe were all back for The Morning Roast this week, even though both Domonique and Mina were in Houston together. It made for a rather interesting dynamic, aka it made me laugh quite a bit. Give it a listen here.

It feels like every week someone’s got a new plan to save Detroit. The once-bustling Michigan city that’s home to the automotive industry has gone through several phases of attempted reboots since its decline. Over the years, I’ve wondered what it would be like to buy a house there and just give it a shot. Now, a different type of demographic is developing: the urban farmer. Check out this story about how “unsettlers” are rearranging the social order in otherwise overlooked parts of the city.

President Donald Trump’s travel ban is putting him at odds with many. Over the weekend, multiple corporations teamed up to fight the executive order that limits the ability of people from seven majority-Muslim nations to travel to the United States. Tech companies in particular say that such restrictions are hampering their ability to attract top talent and are looking to fight about it in court. And we’re not just talking about your app creator. We’re talking Google, Uber and Apple. This battle isn’t going away.

The Super Bowl commercials didn’t feel as impactful this year. Because these things come out earlier and earlier each year, the surprise factor is lesser and thus reduces the effect. But the Budweiser commercial that started a boycott aired, as did that Mr. Clean commercial, which was hilarious, if not a tad bit disturbing if you weren’t ready for him to show up to your house and steal your girl. There were some good ones, however. And anytime Justin Timberlake makes an appearance, you’ll probably laugh. Here’s a recap of the best.

Now that he’s no longer got that pesky Super Bowl to handle, Kyle Shanahan’s getting a new job. The wonder kid of one-time NFL coach Mike Shanahan who worked his way up to offensive coordinator of the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons is splitting for San Francisco. Some might say that his exit is now a little contentious, since the team’s epic collapse Sunday night against the New England Patriots. Of course, it was reported before the playoffs that he had interest in the job. Now, he basically has to take it.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Full disclosure — I love the Pitch Perfect series. Although I saw the first one a couple of years after it came out, I saw the sequel on opening night in the theater, and I completely loved it. Now, they’re going for three and they’ve added John Lithgow to the mix, which is definitely a good thing. Can’t wait for this flick.

Snack Time: If you missed the final of the African Cup of Nations, you missed a heck of a match between Egypt and Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions rallied to beat the Pharoahs with a goal for the ages. Worthy champs.

Dessert: Run The Jewels on Tiny Desk is something definitely worth your time.

All Day Podcast: 1/31/17

Black History Month is upon us

6:58 PM

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This week, Justin Tinsley was out of town working on a story so Martenzie Johnson filled in for him. To get things started, Martenzie broke down an interesting situation that happened between he and his wife at the grocery store. Remember when you were a kid and you asked your parents if you could get something because, well, you couldn’t buy it yourself? Well, Mr. Johnson found himself in a similar situation, then had the epiphany that his spouse is not his mother. So he bought it anyway.

After that, we discussed Super Bowl weekend and how the overall fan bases of the Patriots and the Falcons affect how we look at this matchup from a football standpoint. Aaron Dodson wrote a great story about the matter and how it relates to the ATL. Jill Hudson is apparently a Patriots fan, though.

Of course, the Screen Actors Guild Awards happened last Sunday, and were quite fortuitous for many black actors. Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali all won individual awards and the cast of Hidden Figures also had a fun moment on stage. From that, Taraji P. Henson’s speech led to an interesting discussion about where black people with the concept of “bootstraps.”

Lastly, we talked about the LeBron James and Charles Barkley beef that just doesn’t want to seem to go away. Come for the topics, stay for the interplay.

Daily Dose: 2/3/17

Tiger Woods should hang ’em up for good

4:30 PMDomonique and Mina are sending me pictures from the Puppy Bowl and I’m so extremely happy for them, and really, really mad I’m not there. I don’t care about football. I do care about dogs, though. I’m so jealous.

The Trump administration is a mess. If nothing else, its outward-facing game is so unbelievably off point that it almost would make you laugh if it weren’t so scary. Earlier this week, it appeared that neither the president nor his press secretary Sean Spicer knew that Frederick Douglass was actually a person who’d been dead for more than a century. Then Kellyanne Conway, in trying to somehow defend the immigration ban, referenced a situation in which former President Barack Obama banned Iraqis. One problem: She botched it majorly and had to correct herself after the fact.

We’ve talked about Zootopia before. It’s the wokest animated movie ever, and it’s great. A film about predators and prey living together in harmony that actually is a metaphor for race relations in not just this country but across the globe? Sign me up. And it’s getting recognized by the people who actually give out awards for these things. Seriously. I want to have kids just so I can show them this movie and see how they react when they see it. Alas, I have no offspring. So, I’ll just have to read about how it’ll probably win an Oscar.

The Super Bowl halftime show is a big deal. Ever since Justin Timberlake ripped Janet Jackson’s shirt, sending shock waves throughout the broadcasting industry, what happens between two halves of this football game is a huge deal. Organizers always try to make it over the top, which is understandable considering how big the proverbial stage is. But some shows have gone far better than others. The best one of all time, obviously, is Prince. There will never be another like it. It was a decade ago.

Let’s be clear about something: Tiger Woods is never winning another major again. At this point, the likelihood that he ever wins another tournament is unlikely. It’s rough, seeing the guy who legitimately revolutionized an entire sport have his body break down, while he insists on playing through it all. If he walked away from the game right now, he’d still be the greatest of all time in my book, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand why he doesn’t just let that be the case. Anyway, he withdrew from Dubai this week.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The NBA’s rookie symposium has been a source of controversy for quite some time. The scare tactics the league uses are borderline bizarre and the methods of psychology implemented are questionable at best. And the reality is that not only is it likely ineffective, it’s sexist and wrong.

Snack Time: Hakeem Olajuwon is one of my top five favorite NBA basketball players of all time. He’s also a Muslim. And he played in Houston. This interview with him is solid.

Dessert: Here’s some music. It’s good. Happy weekend.

Daily Dose: 2/2/17

How do you define streetwear?

11:45 AMThis week, in addition to the All Day Podcast in which Martenzie Johnson joined us, I hopped on with Amin Elhassan, Pablo Torre and Freddie Prinze Jr., to talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on the True Hoop pod.

It’s Groundhog Day and it really does feel like the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray. Every day, we wake up and there’s another proverbial bridge burned by President Donald Trump, leaving the rest of the nation and world to wonder who this guy thinks he is. Australia is the latest nation he’s decided he doesn’t need to deal with in any diplomatic manner. Oh, let’s not forget about Mexico, either, which he basically threatened to invade in a phone conversation. Also, you might want to know that Trump’s Supreme Court pick led a fascism club in high school. Literally.

In the fashion world, streetwear is wildly popular. However, that specific term is difficult to define properly. Having been derived from the type of clothes typical of hip-hop, skateboarding and other subcultures, “streetwear” has come to be defined as basically anything that’s not considered haute couture. So, because of its roots, who is designing the clothes clearly makes an impact upon how they are viewed in the fashion world. Which means that just because someone is black, it doesn’t mean that everything they make is streetwear. Not remotely.

We all love a good meme. The latest that’s taking over is one that’s so good, it almost feels like it was made originally as content for exactly said purpose. The first time I saw this, I was confused, because it was so good, it couldn’t have actually been real. As it turns out, it’s not. It comes from a BBC Three mockumentary called Roll Safe. But let’s be clear, this one is extremely good. Whomever this actor is needs to spin this off into a feature-length movie if not a full-fledged album.

Whenever the Golden State Warriors play the Charlotte Hornets, it becomes a family affair. That’s because Stephen Curry’s father, Dell Curry, who played for Charlotte for years, is not only a TV analyst for the team but works with the franchise in a front-office capacity. On Wednesday night before the game, young buck tried to put his pops to the test and got very much served from downtown at that. Then, Steph returned the favor by completely going off on his favorite childhood team. Seriously, he filled it up crazy in a win for Golden State.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Trump, at his core, is a New Yorker. His entire worldview basically comes out of what happens in that city and he’s now applying that to the White House. Now, his own hometown is fighting back. Yemeni bodega owners plan to shut down from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. to protest the immigration ban.

Snack Time: You know who Aaron McGruder is. He created The Boondocks. You also know who Will Packer is. He’s a film and TV producer. Now, they’re teaming up for a new project that Amazon just bought.

Dessert: D.R.A.M. Tiny Desk Concert. Enough said.

Daily Dose: 2/1/17

It’s officially Black History Month

3:00 PMIt’s February, the time of year when black folks get a modicum of respect from the federal government and we teach schoolkids about George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. Lord knows we wish it was more than that, though.

Every single day of this administration has been more hectic than the last. It’s almost as if the chaos is designed, so that no one can really keep up with what’s going on and we are forced to just grab onto one thing that sort of makes sense and try to go with it. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated a guy named Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and the event was a mighty white affair. How’d the president select this guy? Let’s take a look inside the process.

I love the Westminster Dog Show. It’s a great display of animal form, It’s absurdly formal and the things people wear to said event are fantastic. It’s genuinely a great piece of entertainment on every level. So when news broke that they’ll be having cats, CATS, as part of the production this year, that caught a lot of people off guard, including your boy. It’s a dog show. Why on earth would you ruin that with cats? We have no idea what they were thinking.

It’s been a hard fall for Derek Fisher. A guy long considered as the class of the league, after he got involved with a former teammate’s ex-wife, then caught a beatdown from him in dude’s own house. He ended up missing a scrimmage as a result and it was just a terrible look all around. Now, things are getting worse. Someone broke into his place and stole his five NBA championship rings. I completely forgot he even had that many, to be honest.

The goal in the Olympics is to win a gold medal. They’re valuable in a strange way, in that they have value, but not necessarily a specific monetary one. Some athletes fall on hard times and end up having to sell them, which is always extremely sad. In 2020, however, the specific material of said medals will be changing. Now, they’ll be made from recycled metal, which is cool.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Ever since Nas moved into quasi-retirement, he’s been doing all sorts of things. Documentary work, rapping with symphonies and just in general being a great ambassador for hip-hop. Now, BET is making a series about his life. Very dope.

Snack Time: I love brunch as much as the next person, but it can get messy as heck depending on where you are. BrunchCon in New York City is a flat-out bad idea.

Dessert: Looking for something extremely kitschy for the vinyl lover in your life? Boom.

Oprah to join ’60 Minutes’

Sunday nights could get good again

12:30 PMOprah, we missed you.

We know you’ve been doing all sorts of tremendous mogul stuff over the past half decade or so, but welcome back to our television screens, doing what originally made us fall in love with you: talking to people. On Tuesday, CBS announced that the onetime talk show host will be joining the legendary news outlet 60 Minutes as a special contributor.

“I am thrilled that she will be bringing her unique and powerful voice to our broadcast,” executive producer Jeff Fager said in a statement.

This is not to say that what she’s been doing recently is somehow problematic or unappreciated. Oprah Winfrey’s been giving so much of herself to other people and using her considerable influence to create opportunities for friends and others, which is great. All of those products always felt like derivatives of Winfrey, who these days is remembered in GIFs and memes, but not for how she made us feel. For all the magazines, Dr. Phils, Gayles, Rachael Rays, movies and OWN programs she’s birthed and nurtured to fruition, OG Oprah is still the best.

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Of course, 60 Minutes isn’t about to turn into The Oprah Winfrey Show 2.0, which is not the idea. But original ideas from her, featuring her, have been sorely lacking in some eyes. For all of the black women in this country who have commanded respect nationally, Winfrey was different. People have been stealing their whole swag from black women since the beginning of America, yet Winfrey was one of the first in the cable TV era to actually command wide-ranging respect. Before it was cool to love Beyoncé or Michelle Obama, Winfrey had people glued to their couches every afternoon.

Which reminds me of my favorite commercial of hers from back in the day.

Suddenly the sound of that ticking clock isn’t so ominous anymore.

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?

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.

Free Food

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.

Our president is no longer black, but Mr. Clean is

New Super Bowl ad campaign gives cleaning product a new public face

9:30 AMAs far as iconic American brands go, few are more recognizable than Mr. Clean. For nearly 60 years, the image of a bald white guy rocking an earring and all-white garb represented the P&G cleaning product brand. Now, that person is a black man. His name is Mike Jackson, and fittingly, he’s from Atlanta. He beat a whole lot of other people to become the brand representative for the next year, according to Yahoo Beauty.

His story is great and seeing a black face in such a traditionally white space is refreshing, even if it’s a temporary promotional tour. It’s not like the brand is changing its Twitter avi or anything. But perhaps most revealing about this whole situation is the number of people who were already looking and apparently acting like the Old Mr. Clean.

The effort surrounds the new Super Bowl commercial to unveil Jackson as the new face. To be clear, Jackson isn’t actually in the commercial. Instead, they just use a CGI white guy who happens to have great rhythm and smooth dance moves to seduce a wife while scrubbing down the kitchen. Seems like you could have found a real person to do that for less, but what do I know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptnur4Xmvyo

Anyway, take some time and look up “The Next Mr. Clean” on YouTube. The results are flat-out hilarious. There are guys using funny voices and making dramatic readings. Others are taking the whole “white eyebrows” thing to its most literal extension, which strikes us as a terrible move, socially. Some are singing the theme song, which I didn’t even realize had actual lyrics to it.

Either way, good for Jackson and thanks for the reminder that I need to clean my bathroom.