Daily Dose: 5/15/17
New Miss USA Kara McCullough shares thoughts on health care and feminism
11:17 AMThe Morning Roast was down a member Sunday, but Domonique Foxworth and I carried on anyway, and if you were listening live you got to hear a story about me wearing a T-shirt on my head. Which, apparently, is crazy.
Charlottesville, Virginia, is the home of UVA. You know, the University of Virginia, that esteemed institution that was started by noted slave owner and founding father Thomas Jefferson. So when a group of white supremacists turned out to protest the removal of a Confederate statue with torches in tow, we can’t say we were particularly surprised. What isn’t helping their cause is that self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was among them. The mayor of the town called the act horrific, but now you know why these monuments have to go.
The Miss USA Pageant had some highs and lows Sunday night. The high point was four women of color making the top five finalists. Then, when Miss District of Columbia won, she got on stage and decided to make some rather interesting comments. She expressed her views that health care should be a privilege in this country, which is wild because she’s a scientist working for the government. She also said that too many people are overplaying what feminism should be. All righty then. Kara McCullough joined Good Morning America to discuss her win.
— Makho Ndlovu (@makhondlovu) May 15, 2017
Uber Pool can be quite the experience. Personally, I run just a little too hot to be dealing with people I don’t know in such a private space when I ride. I’d rather ride the bus or the train. And a recent situation in Washington shows exactly how things can get VERY awkward. Let’s be clear. If we’re in the back seat of a car and a white person starts dropping N-bombs while singing a song, one of us is getting out. And it’s not going to be me. That’s exactly what happened in one case, and it was the driver who put the offending parties out. Good for him.
We’re finally to that point where NBA jerseys are going to have more than just team logos on them. I don’t particularly mind this, but in American sporting culture it is not the norm, so the first few teams who get on board with this are probably going to deal with a fair amount of backlash. That team will be the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ll be sporting the Goodyear tires logo somewhere on their tops, which is cool because the company was started in Akron, Ohio, the hometown of LeBron James, the greatest basketball player of all time. The history is cool too.
Coffee Break: When it was first announced that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be penning a Black Panther comic book series, many black comic fans rejoiced. Coates’ touch on a famous brand felt like a perfect mix that was a long time coming. Alas, it’s now coming to an end, apparently because of poor sales figures. Bummer.
Snack Time: If you don’t want to get caught up in the nonsense that is marriage to another person, why bother? You can have your ceremony and eat it too, with a little something called “sologamy.” Don’t invite me, though.
Dessert: I’ll be hosting #TheRightTime for Bomani Jones on Monday from 4-7 p.m. EST. Make sure to tune in!
Michelle Obama claps back over school lunches
saying Trump administration is not looking out for children’s health
5:15 PM[protected-iframe id=”040f857803960dd35189b02cb01642bd-84028368-104124100″ info=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” class=”twitter-video”]
“Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?”
Those were the words of Michelle Obama speaking at the Partnership for a Healthier America 2017 Healthier Future Summit in Washington on Friday. The former first lady was addressing the recent actions of new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who has decided that basically the rules that the Obamas implemented to create healthier food choices in schools shouldn’t all be required, ostensibly for the purposes of not hamstringing the food service providers.
Ever since Donald Trump decided to run for office, he promised to roll back various measures that President Barack Obama had put in place over the previous eight years. In those cases, one could reasonably argue that political differences were a decent reason for said actions. People disagree on what should and should not be regulated all the time. But food for kids? It doesn’t take a policy wonk to know that the health of the next generation is vital to, well, the survival of the nation. This isn’t difficult.
“Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap,” Obama continued. “If somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid.”
Which, as an aside, is what made her efforts while in the White House so smart. First ladies are often saddled with the often unfair burden of representing a “cause” just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Lady Bird Johnson wanted to make the nation’s capital look better. Nancy Reagan took a different route, lending her face to the Just Say No movement, arguably the most asinine, ineffective and ultimately harmful marketing campaign in American public health history. As the outward-facing image of the highly problematic war on drugs, Reagan was a star in her own right.
So when Obama decided to put a vegetable garden on the White House lawn and use it as a way to teach visiting schoolkids the importance of healthy eating, it was unimpugnable. On top of that, her Let’s Move campaign, an effort to curb childhood obesity, dovetailed nicely with the overall message that healthy living is better for everyone from a basic human standpoint.
Which is why she brought it up today. Do we know why these rollbacks are happening across the board when it comes to The Donald vs. Barack? Of course we do. But now, we also know that if a corporation or company can benefit from something at the cost of your kids’ future, this administration is willing to allow that.
Are we willing to sacrifice a generation to spite the Obamas? Some people in our country have already said yes to that. The question is whether we’re willing to admit why.
Kendrick Lamar narrates farewell to Paul Pierce
L.A. Clippers release video tribute for NBA legend
Paul Pierce’s farewell tour didn’t end with a trophy, but it did have a few nice moments. One of those moments came Thursday when his hometown Los Angeles Clippers released a tribute video to him narrated by the hottest rapper on earth right now and an Angeleno himself: Kendrick Lamar.
The video takes you back to Inglewood High School, where he was a McDonald’s All-American and California’s Mr. Basketball in 1995. Overall, it’s a quick, fun tribute to a guy who was always well-liked by other players in the league, never mind fans of the teams he played on. Doesn’t hurt to have King Kenny lend his voice to the effort either.
In case you forgot, his nickname is The Truth and his resume is too: Finals MVP, 10-time NBA All-Star, among many other accolades. And he just seems like a cool dude. “Life is not all about the wins and losses,” Lamar says. “It’s also about how you affect people. Paul Pierce, you are the truth.”
Daily Dose: 5/12/17
L.A. Reid moves on from Epic Records
12:36 PMI’m going to see Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night between the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics. I really, really, hope that this isn’t the last NBA basketball game in D.C. this season.
If you listen to music in this country, you should know who L.A. Reid is. One half of the original team that started LaFace Records, Babyface being the other, he’s been a dominant force in the industry for a generation. He’s the kind of guy who’s always making various people’s power lists, and in an era in which the concept of the record company mogul is kind of a dying breed, he’s still around. But now, he’s out at Epic Records. It’s not exactly clear why, either, because it’s not like he wasn’t enjoying plenty of success. Where he lands will be fascinating.
President Donald Trump is letting the tweets fly, again. After apparently nearly incriminating himself during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, he decided it was a good idea to get up and start tweeting even more things that could eventually end his administration — which for my money, is exactly what he wants to do. No. 1, he admitted that he fired FBI director James Comey because of his investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, which in most leagues is a foul, to borrow a sports phrase. Then, he basically threatened a congressional witness.
The man in charge of Rikers Island is stepping down. Joseph Ponte is his name, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio put him in charge of the Big Apple’s correctional facilities three years ago. Let’s just say that he’s not exactly leaving without a cloud over his head. De Blasio talked long and loud about how he was going to close Rikers, but that still hasn’t happened, and Ponte’s own proclivity for being extremely shady is as much of a reason to point to as anything else. In short, conditions for inmates are not getting better in NYC anytime soon.
LaVar Ball’s had a decent week. He’s managed to stay in the news cycle without being completely destructive and sell a few shoes in the interim. Also, if you want to hear the clearest example of why most people have no issue with Lonzo Ball’s father, but actually like him, look no further than rapper The Game, who broke it down in pretty simple terms. He also managed to get into a bit of a row with Kobe Bryant, but in the end, NBA execs say this will not affect his son’s draft status. Which, for Lonzo, is all that should matter.
Coffee Break: I’m not going to lie. I don’t want to read or watch content about Tupac and Biggie for the rest of my life. I just don’t. I know that some people do, and that’s fine, but personally, with each successive project about their lives and deaths, I feel ickier as a fan of hip-hop. USA Network has greenlit a series called Unsolved.
Snack Time: Missy Elliot has always been a style icon, and that ain’t changing anytime soon, so to see her on the cover of Elle magazine is a big win for her and the culture in general.
Missy Elliott is on the cover of Elle Magazine this month 😍🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/jGURfl9fKB
— The Dinner Table Doc (@dinnertabledoc) May 11, 2017
Dessert: Need a good gift for mom? How about a Nike outsole iPhone case! For real, though, they’re dope.
Jay Z, Live Nation ink $200M deal
which means the ‘Forbes’ richest hip-hop artists list needs to change
4:58 PMWhen Shawn Carter is 57 years old, he’ll still be touring.
According to Variety, Jay Z and Live Nation have signed a deal for his exclusive performance rights that’s reported to be in the $200 million range. Their previous deal together, signed in 2008, was worth $150M. At the time, when Jay was 38, many questioned the sense of such a big move for the events company. A slew of Made In America festivals later that have made their mark on the country’s pop culture landscape, and boom — they were right.
For those of you who have been following Jay’s actual recent music career, this news comes with a bit of irony. As my colleague Breana Jones said, “Guess he did not, in fact, hold out for three.” That’s in reference to his 2012 song with Rick Ross and Dr. Dre (more on him in a second) titled “3 Kings.”
I ran through that buck fifty Live Nation fronted me
They workin’ on another deal, they talkin’ two hundred fifty
I’m holdin’ out for three
Two seventy five and I just might agree
Also interesting is that we might have a change at the top of the Forbes richest artists in hip-hop list, which was just released Wednesday. This list is always a fascinating one. In an era in which record sales aren’t how anyone makes big money anymore, the lists are more representative of the best businesspeople in the game. Mind you, this was released Wednesday.
- Diddy – $820M
- Jay Z – $810M
- Dr. Dre – $740M
- Birdman – $110M
- Drake – $90M
So, unless Sean Combs announces something before the end of the week, he’s already off the top of this list by a reasonably large margin, depending on the breakdown on the payout for Jay. Of course, this is all based on net worth. Perhaps more interesting to me, though, is how wide the gap is between Birdman and Dre. There’s an argument that while you’ve got those three at the top, an overall look at the top 10 would be far more informative as to who’s really doing the best with their talent in the hip-hop game.
Clearly, no one’s catching up with the men on the medal stand, but they’re also not really making music with any regularity anymore. Which is basically why they’re rich. They did that in an era in which record sales mattered, then parlayed that into branding opportunities and general wealth acquisition through business that was smart and fruitful. You’ll note someone who’s not on this list who once was: 50 Cent. But that’s a whole other story.
Rounding out the top five is an old tale of music industry shadiness. Birdman, who heads Cash Money Records, is being sued by Lil Wayne. And not just for Lamborghini money — we’re talking $50M. That’s nearly half of Baby’s worth, according to those Forbes numbers. Also, there’s a lawsuit involving Drake’s work with them from early in his career. Basically, the whole thing is a mess over rights and royalties, which is really sad. Particularly when you know explicitly that Drizzy is responsible for a not-insignificant portion of that label’s hits.
Point is, by next year that list will likely be very different at the bottom.
Quavo is going full-time solo
if his latest clues are any indication, it’s just a matter of time
2:32 PMIn all great groups, there is a standout. Diana Ross. Bobby Brown. Beyoncé. You can add Quavo to that list. Sure, he hasn’t officially announced it, but let’s be real. This has been in the works for a while. Let’s take a quick look.
In February, he appeared on Calvin Harris’ “Slide,” a full-blown summer banger that will be playing at mixed company brunches while you bang those bellinis. The song is a hit, but perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t sound anything like a Migos song. He brought Offset along with him, as a cover of sorts, for the big move.
We’ve seen this maneuver before. Takeoff didn’t have a verse on “Bad & Boujee,” which was the first signal that these three might be on their way to splitting up. Meanwhile, Offset has been bunned up with the queen of awesomeness, Cardi B. They even did a song together on her album. This couple has reality show written all over them, and I don’t mean Love & Hip-Hop. They’ve got enough for their own show.
Last month, Quavo was part of the all-star collabo with DJ Khaled that was sort of crossover pop, whatever you want to call it. Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and others sort of throw you off the scent, but this was the real indication to me that he was ready to sneak out the trap. That’s mainly because he’s got the first rap verse on the track. My man ain’t even thinking about his squad.
Then, earlier this week, Quavo dropped an actual solo track, which in itself isn’t a huge deal but is certainly noteworthy. For this song we’re back in the trap, with a lovely piano riff that makes you feel like you might hear this in church. Mind you, listen to the lyrics. Me, myself and I cruise down the highway, etc. — it all seems to be pointing to a guy who is ready to take his act out on its own. You can read them here, or listen below.
So, all this seems fair enough. Migos is a group, not triplets. If one guy wants to do side projects, so be it. But the full showstopper came on Thursday. Former One Direction member Liam Payne announced that his new single for his solo project WILL FEATURE QUAVO.
— Liam (@LiamPayne) May 11, 2017
This isn’t “Let me buddy up with some other related hot artists in my genre and bring some of my crew too for a quick hit.” This isn’t even “Oh, I did a side project that’s a little off our sound, so here’s a couple of unreleased tracks.” This isn’t even Ralph Tresvant recording an entire whole other album just to be petty. This is full-blown, in your face, outchea announcing that he sure doesn’t need Migos to be a star. And by buddying up with another guy from another group that had its own solo drama, he’s sort of given himself cover in the moment for the big announcement. Meanwhile, he’s got a likely pop chart hit, no big deal. Genius.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that any of this is cynical between group members. They are family after all, and they’re all rich. But when it comes to seeing them as a trio? I’m guessing those days are very numbered.
White police officer sues city for discrimination
after finding out he had 18 percent African heritage and getting ridiculed for it
1:27 PMWhen news first crossed my desk that a white man was suing his city in Michigan for discrimination, I shook my head. It instantly felt like another one of those bastardized versions of what people like to call reverse racism was rearing its head, and thus paradoxically exposing the real nature of white privilege. Or, to put it more plainly: Discrimination complaints likely don’t get heard until a white person claims to be the one affected.
There’s a lot to unpack with this. No. 1 is the obvious general culture around this police force and racial humor. According to a report, this problem started when a prank was played on the officer during the Christmas season, when someone in the department put a black Santa Claus with 18 percent written on it — the figure represented the percentage of his heritage that’s African — in his Christmas stocking. That, and people apparently calling him “Kunta,” set him off.
But there’s one single detail in this story that is hilarious. The man’s name is Cleon Brown.
Cleon. Brown. Look, I don’t have to go into a whole historical breakdown of names to point out that if you heard his name without seeing the person, you would automatically assume he was black. For what it’s worth, Cleon is actually a Greek name, but you know how these things go with years of conditioning and other societal factors that push people to give their kids different monikers.
Now, this is funny to people because folks like laughing at so-called nontraditional names. It’s also funny because it goes to the extreme. If that officer’s name is Justin White, this is an entirely different story in that regard. I’m willing to believe that being named Cleon Brown might have been the reason that a guy in Hastings, Michigan, would choose to investigate his heritage to begin with. As someone who’s been told that he sounds white — whatever that means, but we know what it means — I’m fascinated by this situation.
Most importantly, though, are the details of the nature of his concern. This paragraph in particular is telling.
“Brown filed a federal lawsuit alleging state and federal civil-rights violations and violation of the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. He claims intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Basically, he’s saying that he couldn’t possibly bear the burden of knowing that he’s partially black. Look, the insults and so on are obviously out of line, but the concept of defending one’s whiteness as a reason to levy a lawsuit is astounding. It’s not reverse racism. It’s reverse Rachel Dolezal.
Another interesting component here is that the only reason his department knew about this is because Brown chose to tell them. He says that people unfriended him on Facebook and “didn’t allow him to play in annual charity basketball games,” presumably because his newfound blackness probably gave him an unfair advantage on the court. This would be a good time to drop in this not-so-fun nugget about Jeremy Lin finding that the Ivy League was more racist than the NBA. Shocker.
Anyway, what Brown is asserting is that after telling them that he might have African blood in his heritage, his superiors and co-workers started treating him … like he was black. Nothing like finding yourself on the wrong side of the privilege line to find out that racism is real and thriving in the United States of America.
We can only hope that if nothing else, this informs his next decision when he pulls someone of color over.
Daily Dose: 5/11/17
Steve Harvey does not have time for your nonsense
1:13 PMWednesday night was a very depressing one for D.C. sports fans. The Capitals lost Game 7 to the Penguins and the Wizards got blown out by the Celtics, but the Nationals did get a walk-off. Consolation, but not the one I wanted.
Another day, another Confederate statue removed. This time it was Jefferson Davis, whom you might remember for his work as the president of said states. In the discussion about how to properly handle our sordid past, I stand firmly in the “tear it all down” camp, so all this nonsense about preserving history is lost on me. This is the second time New Orleans has done this, and once again it brought out protests and Confederate flags, which is obviously terrifying. Two down, who knows how many to go.
The impression I get from the president is often a sad one. A guy who had everything he wanted, but let ego get the best of him, went after the highest office in the land, only to actually get it and then find out the cruelest irony of human existence: Fantasy is often better than reality. Now, as the guy living alone in the White House, he just wanders around forcing people to be by his side while he tries to impress them with his vast knowledge of basic technologies like DVR. This story about Trump’s after-hours lifestyle in D.C. is fascinating.
Speaking of guys running one-man operations, there’s Steve Harvey. He’s a busy guy, you see? He hosts a morning radio show. He hosts all sorts of television programs, not the least of which is Family Feud, the greatest American television game show of all time. He’s also had his own daily syndicated television show, which is now moving to Los Angeles after five years in Chicago. And as it turns out, Harvey doesn’t particularly enjoy the company of others in the work environment. Check this out.
Really need to gone ahead and let this Steve Harvey letter be the protocol for the rest of my life. pic.twitter.com/5KbOb5KV07
— Curtis T. Daniels (@CDizzlefizzle) May 11, 2017
It’s impossible to overstate how much war affects people. In the case of a civil one, which is influenced by all sorts of outside actors, it’s particularly complicated. So for athletes in these nations, representing their country is difficult. And in some scenarios, it’s a legitimate life-or-death decision. Do you stand to wear the flag of a politician or leader you don’t respect? Or do you play because it’s your heart’s will and you can perhaps bring some joy to your otherwise struggling nation? In Syria, it’s the toughest question of all.
Coffee Break: There are certain relationships that are stalwarts in the community. Barack and Michelle. Jay and Bey. Offset and Cardi B. Pillars of love and upstanding partnerships. One such was Cellino & Barnes, who created the greatest law firm jingle of all time. Now, Cellino is suing Barnes. I am crestfallen.
Snack Time: I love sushi. I also love sneakers. But sneakers made out of sushi are a bit much for me. But hey, if food art is your thing, check out this collection from a guy who’s really into kicks and raw fish.
Dessert: Here’s a nice song for a rainy spring day.
Dwayne Johnson should not run for president
Donald Trump already ruined it for him
6:55 AM“Dwayne Johnson for President!” screams the headline of this month’s GQ cover story. In it, Caity Weaver profiles the man who most came to know from his time as a wrestler, which he’s since leveraged into being one of the biggest movie stars in the world. The idea isn’t a new one, if you’ve been following the “which celebrities could actually do this” thinking since Donald Trump was elected to the Oval Office.
While it’s cute, completely viable and ultimately probably a good idea, there’s one problem — he’s too late.
Ultimately, this will be the bizarre reverse effect of the Trump administration. The “celebrity turned politician” avenue is now so sullied that the hit one’s reputation would take by entering a national campaign is not worth the value of winning.
"The Rock" With all respect to Dwayne Johnson, why does he think he has the qualifications to be President of the USA? Try Congress first.
— archer (@ncnative46) May 10, 2017
Joking aside, @TheRock would more than likely be a genuinely good president. Genuinely good guy, and seems pretty qualified
— Kailan Walker (@KailanWalker) May 10, 2017
Not to be a downer on such a fun prospect, but think about it. It isn’t about the specific politics of The Donald’s time in the Oval Office. It’s about the fact that America has been exposed and educated on how hard the job is and how embarrassing it can be when someone who hasn’t been involved in the process is suddenly in office. The likelihood that the U.S. population is willing to turn over the dignity of the position again to someone who they know only from movies is extremely slim.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Dwayne Johnson. For my money, he’s this country’s greatest export. But the time for this to ever really make sense has passed. Barack Obama broke the line of old white guys as commanders in chief world. Lord knows where we’d be as a nation at that point if Hillary Clinton had won, but that clearly doesn’t matter now.
As far as celebrities who’ve mentioned they’re considering a run for Pennsylvania Avenue in the past year, Johnson is probably the best candidate, politically speaking. The hardest thing in the world to do is to get people to like you, and he excels at that in ways that are really quite remarkable. Nobody has a problem with Johnson.
The Rock says running for President is 'a real possibility' which means I want to become a US citizen so I can vote for him.
— Ben B (@NinDorkKnight) May 10, 2017
Elsewhere around the celebrity dial, Chris Rock joked about it, but when Oprah Winfrey brought it up, more ears perked. It wasn’t exactly clear whether this was said in jest, but obviously her popularity and ability to put people in places to succeed is pretty unparalleled.
Which is to say, what a bummer. The idea of Johnson becoming an American president is one that’s hard not to like. While Ronald Reagan was an actor before becoming governor of California on his way to the White House, he was never the star that any of the aforementioned people are.
There is another position that suits Johnson well though, if he’s considering public office: vice president.
Jodeci is still doing the most
Their VH1 ‘Dear Mama’ performance was eventful, to say the least
Gather around, kiddos, and let me tell you a story. There was once an R&B group called Jodeci. They were the bad boys to Boyz II Men’s preppy style, and their tapes and CDs were the ones that kids hid from their parents because they were too nasty. For reference, a young Sean Combs was the one who helped shape their look. The rest is history, as some say, with multiple jams that will be sung at gospel brunches forever.
For my money, the peak of their powers came in 1996, when Raekwon and Ghostface Killah jumped a remix of their song “Freek’n You.”
Then things fizzled and K-Ci and JoJo became their own act, with much success. You know the words to “All My Life” even if you don’t know that you do. From there came years of touring, a couple of incidents with the law (one involving K-Ci exposing himself to the crowd at a concert) and, of course, a reality show. If you hadn’t been paying close attention to that point, you didn’t know that both of them had dealt with major substance abuse problems. All this led up to a situation in which JoJo passed out on stage, ostensibly because of exhaustion.
All that’s to say they’ve come a long way. Fast-forward to now, and they’re performing at VH1’s Dear Mama special and still acting wild. My colleague Domonique Foxworth seems to think that at the 3:15 mark of the video above, K-Ci, while wandering the crowd and singing, shakes up a woman’s wig as part of his bit. Personally, I don’t think so. If this really were a wig, a) she would have been WAY more upset about this whole incident, and b) it would have probably fallen off.
As a general rule, though, messing with black women’s hair for kicks is a mega no-go. Only an R&B singer midperformance gets away with that without getting popped. Anyway, I guess it’s good to know that Jodeci hasn’t lost a step.
Betsy DeVos’ commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University did not go well
Protests and boos mar secretary of education’s HBCU appearance
— Lorraine Berry (@BerryFLW) May 10, 2017
When it was first announced that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would be speaking at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement, many jaws dropped. What on earth would an uber-rich white woman who admittedly had never had any interaction with student loans on any level be able to teach a group of upwardly mobile students at an HBCU? It’s a fair question.
To review, she botched her praise of historically black institutions out of the gate, when she called them pioneers of school choice. As if, you know, black folks chose on their own to segregate major universities. That gaffe aside, there’s also the matter of what President Donald Trump did. After claiming to pledge his undenying support to HBCUs, he then publicly questioned their funding channels. In short, little respect has been shown.
So when it finally went down on Wednesday, things did not go well. Edison O. Jackson, the university’s president, basically wanted to give this woman a chance and perhaps, in the meantime, get some shine too. What he ended up with was an embarrassing mess for the more-than-a-century-old school in Daytona Beach, Florida.
See for yourself.
— Xtopher Go Bragh (@tommyxtopher) May 10, 2017
Loud boos and some applause for Betsy DeVos as she receives her honorary degree. The boos at the mention of Trump's name are deafening.
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) May 10, 2017
It’s also worth noting that things got VERY petty between school brass and students. After putting together a petition to try to prevent the speech from happening, the school’s official Twitter page tweeted this out. The shade is very real.
— Bethune-Cookman (@bethunecookman) May 9, 2017
What makes this particularly unfortunate is not DeVos herself. It’s about the fact that graduation ceremonies are in large part exactly that: ceremonial. Any attempt to make it about anyone other than the students who’ve worked so hard to be in position to say they earned a degree is a selfish one. If the idea was “All press is good press” then sure, you’ve achieved your goal.
But for all the parents, friends and family members who made trips to see their loved ones finally walk across that stage, Jackson basically ruined their special day. He knew full well this was going to be ugly, and he apparently didn’t care. It doesn’t even matter what she had to say. The president ruined commencement for his students, a day on which people are supposed to learn life lessons going forward. Or, in school terms: He failed.
You can watch it all here.
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Or, check this thread from The Chronicle’s Adam Harris.
Students stand back up and turn their backs.
— adam harris (@AdamHSays) May 10, 2017
We are Bethune-Cookman University. And best believe Mary taught us well. pic.twitter.com/mi8fFoao3D
— S M U R F 🐐 (@smurfresh) May 10, 2017
Daily Dose: 5/10/17
The nation’s capital has a lot going on
11:40 AMWednesday is the biggest day in Washington, D.C., sports in a long time. The Capitals are in a Game 7. The Wizards have a very important Game 5. And the Nationals are playing the Baltimore Orioles. I’ll be in my bunker, chewing my nails off.
So, let me try to explain this. President Donald Trump fired James Comey, who was the head of the FBI. Comey was the man responsible for investigating whether Trump was involved with Russia in an improper way. The man who suggested it was Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, who had to recuse himself from the investigation because he himself was caught meeting with Russian officials. Meaning, we might never find out what’s true in this situation because Trump can appoint someone who might just drop the investigation altogether. Total debacle.
Perhaps as important to our nation’s welfare, Census Bureau director John Thompson resigned Tuesday. If you don’t know, that agency does a whole lot of things beyond just count how many people are in the country. It takes surveys on public health, and the data it collects is used by all sorts of other groups for various reasons. And in some places in America, it’s actually a dangerous job to knock on people’s doors and ask them, for example, who lives there. With a funding problem looming for the agency, dude just decided to leave. Very ominous.
There are people in this world without whom I probably wouldn’t have a job. There was a time when being a black person meant that your avenues to the world of journalism and, in general, public discourse were so limited that you had to be considered a genius to get a seat at the table. But the trailblazers who made a point of showcasing our talent, our skill and our mettle are as important as the stars. One of those people was Eddie Williams, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies for 32 years. He died Monday at 84.
More bad news on the death front. You might not know Christopher Boykin by his government name. But Big Black, who came to fame via the MTV show Rob & Big, was a complete cult hero. For many it was the original completely stupid reality show. For one dumb young man looking to become a media personality, it was a total inspiration. Big Black spun off his own clothing line that did relatively well considering where it started, but his tagline, “Do work, son,” will live on. I loved this dude so much. He was 45.
Rest in peace, Christopher "Big Black" Boykin. pic.twitter.com/QLMnZEFni8
— MTV News (@MTVNews) May 10, 2017
Shout out to LaVar Ball. He’s managed to pull off this carnival barker act for some time, and still, somehow, it’s definitely working. His media parade won’t end anytime soon because, well, his son is gonna be quite a good NBA player, hopefully. But his claims are getting more outlandish by the day. Which is part of the reason I love him, to be honest. He did his TV circuit yesterday and managed to mention Michael Jordan’s name in a derogatory way, which always sets off old heads. LaVar is already a legend in his own mind, and mine too, ha.
Coffee Break: We love Larry Wilmore. He’s been responsible and a part of some of the most important shows of our time, so when he walks in the room, he gets respect. Now, he’s got a new podcast with The Ringer and it’s called Black On the Air, which is pretty tremendous.
Snack Time: A white guy took an AncestryDNA test and figured out that he was 18 percent African, according to the results. He was then made fun of by his co-workers. That white guy is a police officer. And now he’s suing everyone.
Dessert: We. Must. Protect. Simone. Biles. At. All. Costs.
— WILDFANG (@wearewildfang) May 10, 2017
Solange is about that Rockets life
… and her throwback photo game is solid
Every once in a while you get a tweet so fun, so genuine and so natural from a true star that you just want to stand and applaud. Today, Solange Knowles gave us that. While the Los Angeles Times is just now figuring out that Houston is one of the most diverse places in America, this great photo tells that story in one fell swoop.
But, since we’re here, let’s take a trip down memory lane. That season was a strange one in the NBA. It was the second year of Michael Jordan’s absence, and the Rockets had beaten the Knicks in the finals the year before. You might remember that series for a little situation we like to call “the O.J. Chase.” It interrupted the game, and the rest is history.
Houston had also traded for Clyde Drexler before the 1994-95 season, a reunion of two guys (with Hakeem Olajuwon) who had played together in Houston, no less, in college. The Oilers were still there. This was effectively Houston’s heyday as far as sports were concerned. The Astros were decent, finishing second in the National League Central that year. Ken Caminiti was still alive.
Anyway, facing off against the Spurs on Tuesday night to potentially take a commanding lead in the series on the back of James Harden, with Patrick Beverley still mourning his grandfather and the Spurs looking like it might be time for them to step aside in the Western Conference, the Rockets are a team you should have no problems rooting for.
Or, in shorter terms, they’ve got a seat at our table.
Daily Dose: 5/9/17
Shaq is getting serious about this law enforcement stuff
1:05 PMTuesday is my favorite Wu-Tang Clan rapper’s birthday, which officially makes me an old man, but I ain’t ashamed of that. Ghostface Killah is 46 years old Tuesday. Here’s the greatest trash-talk video of all time, btw.
Travel is stressful. We all know that. Between the money it costs, the nonsense we all have to go through now to feel safe and the general pressure that comes with trying to move humans, people don’t always have the best demeanor when things go wrong. In the past few months, we’ve seen quite a few incidents of people losing their cool on planes and things rising to a physical level. Now, things have spilled over into the terminal side of things, with folks brawling over canceled flights.
I don’t have children. Part of the reason is that I remember how difficult my relationship was with my parents, and if I’m ever lucky enough to bring people into this world, I can’t imagine how I’ll act if they treat me the way I treated my folks. But that said, many of my friends have kids, and the stuff they go through is really quite trying, obviously. Some stories end with moral quandaries that I just can’t imagine dealing with from a leadership standpoint. This tale of a kid who punched his best friend for being racist is one of them. I hope this works out.
Sometimes I wish I knew someone on reality TV. As in, I don’t need a show myself, but it would be fun to know someone who was basically getting paid to party on camera and every once in a while had some drama that you could observe from nearby. I’m kidding. That would be a mess. But that said, The Real Housewives of Atlanta produced one of the best TV moments I’ve ever seen. Turns out, Phaedra got fired for insinuating that one of her castmates wanted to drug and rape someone. Meanwhile, this clip is tremendous.
Shaquille O’Neal’s relationship with law enforcement is an interesting one. He’s talked before about wanting to be an officer of sorts, occasionally pulling TV stunts that involve him doing ride-alongs and or being deputized for various reasons. Now, the NBA legend is claiming that he wants to run for sheriff somewhere in the coming years. Cool, fine, sure. But this should serve as a reminder that law enforcement is an elected position in many places, which tells you everything you need to know about the state of this nation.
Coffee Break: I could go on a long rant about how awful the international soccer governing body FIFA is, but I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to point out that in a moment that could have led to some real change in that god-awful organization, they decided to elect someone who is completely unqualified for the council. This, obviously, is the work of dudes.
Snack Time: Yo, Lonzo Ball kinda has bars. I mean, I’m not saying he needs to drop an album, but his flow is not awful and his crew isn’t terrible either. I’m always here for bad rap from basketball players. This doesn’t suck tho.
Dessert: This is like Christmas in May.