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Jimmy Kimmel was out of pocket at the Oscars

Making fun of names is so outdated, and ‘La La Land’ doesn’t need more awards

2:40 PMLong before he was playing damage control at the Dolby Theater on Sunday night, Jimmy Kimmel was doing his best to keep the crowd engaged during the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. By the time the mess unfolded onstage and eventually the best picture award went to Moonlight, Kimmel had already told enough jokes to make a certain amount of people believe he might be responsible for the egregious error.

But while PricewaterhouseCoopers’ incompetence, which led to an embarrassing moment for all around, was one thing, another thing stood out from the performance: Kimmel making fun of people’s names. In a year in which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was making what appeared to be a genuinely concerted effort to highlight diversity and inclusion, there was the host, openly taking steps backward.

“Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy, said onstage. “The power of art is that it transcends all these things.”

Well, if that’s the case, what’s so funny about the name Mahershala or Yulerie? Let’s be clear: This is Hollywood. The relationship between portrayal and power is effectively the reason for its existence. We’re talking about an industry in which people create stage names, for the exact purpose of placating themselves to the Anglo-Saxon norms that long ruled the credits of films. Names matter.

There was also the extremely awkward matter of Kimmel running an odd bit with 8-year-old actor Sunny Pawar in which he held him up in the air with the Lion King’s “Circle of Life” playing in the background, like when Rafiki did the same with Simba. Again, it’s not always about overt racism. There are plenty of things that thematically are just not culturally appropriate, such as using a young Indian boy to recreate a scene basically on a fictional African pride of lions, simply because he was in a movie of a similar title. Luckily, Pawar saved it because he’s awesome, but the point was made.

Meanwhile, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to win an award. A couple of movies that didn’t feature black folks as just the paid or unpaid help made it into the winners circle. As important, movies about black people were nominated as documentaries, and a film about the civil war in Syria actually took away an award.

https://twitter.com/AnandWrites/status/836061032363749377

This is all to say that by the time we got around to the end, it was an important moment. And for whatever reason, after marginalizing an Oscar winner and an unwilling prank member over what people call them, suddenly Kimmel felt bad for the entire cast and crew of La La Land, because they were apparently humiliated. And he managed to blame a black person, while he was at it.

“I think you guys should keep it anyway. Guys, this is very unfortunate what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” he said, referring to the December 2015 incident in which Harvey botched the winner’s announcement in a live show. “I would like to see you get an Oscar, anyway,” he said. “Why can’t we just give out a whole bunch of them?”

Uh, WHAT? Now that the oh-so-vaunted system of envelopes and reveals has embarrassed the very people who made an entire film about how awesome the industry is, suddenly, we’re going to joke about how we should make it a participation award? God forbid we kick anyone offstage to make way for an all-black cast that rocked the establishment with a movie that had a budget of less than $2 million.

Kimmel is a comedian and his bits in general provide a level of levity that the obviously stuffy Academy Awards need. Making fun of the president is one thing, but blindsiding people on national TV and/or mocking the biggest moment of their lives is just pointless. But, he learned a pretty valuable lesson Sunday, which is that it’s not as much fun when the joke’s on you.

Then again, who knows. It may have been his idea all along. Which definitely isn’t funny either.

Clemson Ph.D. candidate seeks a doctorate with dopeness

A.D. Carson defends 34-track album dissertation

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"https://soundcloud.com/sets/term-1-mixtape"

A post shared by A.D. Carson (@aydeethegreat) on

When I was in high school, I really thought I was doing something by writing my extended essay about the correlation between art and crime with graffiti. Since then, the link between scholarship and the hip-hop community has expanded exponentially.

In 2017, rap and hip-hop culture in the classroom as legitimate academic disciplines have moved past the gimmick or easy electorate phase. We’ve gone from the general, such as celebrity professors like the legendary Bun B teaching class on hip-hop and religion at Rice University in Houston, to the more specific, such as Georgetown University’s Michael Eric Dyson devoting an entire semester to Jay Z alone. These days at Georgia Tech, you can take a class that explores the links between Outkast, trap music and social justice.

But Ph.D. candidate A.D. Carson is taking the next step. Rap music is his academic work, not just a subject he studies. On Friday, he defended his dissertation “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions,” at Clemson University. Not only is he the first student at the school to forgo that traditional written word for such an assignment, it’s coming at a school with a history that isn’t exactly the most progressive. You might remember Carson’s video “See The Stripes” from 2014.

This also happens to be the school where Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the 2017 College Football Playoff national champions, decided to invoke Martin Luther King Jr. in order to tell people that kneeling for the national anthem was wrong. He’s the same guy, who while making more than $5 million a year to coach unpaid labor, called out players for wanting some actual remuneration for their efforts. Clemson has issues.

His approach was straightforward. He built a studio, asked his friends for help and banged out the album. It’s not like it was his first rodeo. As Aydee The Great, he’s been creating work as an artist for some time. Doing it as a student in the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design doctoral program is the new part.

Carson has already accomplished a ton. But we’re also rooting for him, just so that if someone ever asks him how he got his doctorate, he can just flip them a mixtape.

Daily Dose: 2/24/17

Remy Ma is a national treasure

1:00 PMThe week’s coming to a close, but don’t forget, The Morning Roast airs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. If you’re cool, you’ll subscribe and leave a review. And if you’re even better, you’ll check out this week’s All Day Podcast.

Bill Cosby caught a break today. The comedian whose life has been put under the microscope due to his past as someone who routinely used drugs to incapacitate women is currently in court over an accusation from 2005. Essentially, after one woman came out, many others did, further buttressing the point that this was not remotely an isolated incident. But it was in question as to whether or not all those people would be allowed to testify in court. Today, a judge said only one other woman would be.

Remy Ma might not be the most famous rapper alive, but she is one of the most important. All these jokers you listen to that rap about the life they’re living regarding jail time and gunplay are likely lying, which ultimately is a good thing. But Remy has dealt with the actual realities of what going to prison can do to your life, career and family. It’s truly inspirational that she’s made it all the way back to where she is. She’s like a real-life Cookie Lyons. This interview with her is a must-read.

This beef with JaVale McGee and Shaquille O’Neal has gotten out of hand. I’ve written about this before, but at this point, it’s almost impossible to understand. What O’Neal’s obsession with JaVale is, who knows, but Young Pierre is really tired of it. What was once a television beef on “Shaqtin’ A Fool” has now moved its way over to Twitter, which means the next logical step is obvious: celebrity boxing. Shaq might be big, but he’s old. I feel like McGee could stick him from long range. Either way, this is a mess, overall.

The Philadelphia 76ers have no hope. They traded Nerlens Noel, and the whole “trust the process” situation blew up in fans’ faces at the trade deadline Thursday. Now, they’re shutting down Ben Simmons, because his foot is not healing correctly, which is a whole other problem, to be quite honest. They’ve won 21 games this season, which is somehow a major improvement. Reminder: The Nets have nine wins. The official news from the Sixers is that Simmons doesn’t have enough time to recondition himself.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Horror films freak me out. Like, at this stage of my life, I’m not really into watching situations that are legitimately scary to me, for fun. But this new flick from Jordan Peele called Get Out has piqued my interest because people won’t stop talking about it.

Snack Time: Important update for your spring home movie viewing schedule. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out on Blu-ray on April 4. This is certainly one for the collection.

Dessert: Hold my calls. I’ll be listening to Future, Oddisee and Thundercat all weekend. Plus Rhiannon Giddens.

Daily Dose: 2/23/17

Going to the bathroom just got harder for some students

2:00 PMNBA trade deadline day is really fun. It’s the biggest of “wild speculation” days on the sports calendar. Can’t wait.

If you’re a transgender kid, things just got worse for you. In a move that no one can explain, the White House decided to reverse an Obama-era guidance that let schoolkids use whatever bathroom they want. It was clearly a move designed to make students feel more comfortable. Perhaps ironically, Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new secretary of education, was the one trying to prevent the president from making this move. Needless to say, a lot of people are upset over the decision, which ultimately makes everyone less safe.

Remember when Bree Newsome removed a Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse? That was dope. Now, in a far lower stakes move, she has a bit of a counterpart. She was scheduled to speak at the College of Charleston on Wednesday night, a scenario that brought out quite a few protestors. One man went viral, after he decided to jump a barricade and take out a guy who was carrying a Confederate flag on the street. Let’s break it down. Excellent approach, decent tackle, good motor, bad getaway plan. Dude is a hero, though.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards take place Sunday. It’s the biggest deal in the world, so you better be prepared. Just kidding. But if we’re to believe that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is really that concerned about an equitable awarding of Oscars, this year will be very telling. There are quite a few movies either about or by black folks that have gotten not only a bunch of recognition, but have also won plenty awards already. Mahershala Ali looks to be a big winner, but you never know until it happens. If you don’t know how the whole process actually works, check out this video to see how one goes from movie screen to Oscar stage.

I’ve tried to give Jameis Winston some credit, but it’s hard. The whole situation that stained his college career and ran a girl out of school regarding a sexual assault accusation is still not one that sits well with me. Then, he goes to an elementary school and talks to kids like he’s some hotep preacher straight off the internet, telling boys to stand up and be proud, while telling girls to be quiet. Like how on earth does that happen? He apologized for “poor wording,” but I’m not particularly sure he gets why this isn’t okay.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re wondering where the old Dipset gang is, we have another update. We know that Jim Jones was spilling his heart out on the radio. We also know that Cam’ron is dancing with his lady in the living room. What’s Juelz Santana doing? Sneaker shopping in Harlem, New York.

Snack Time: Lego is in a big moment right now. The Lego Batman Movie has people needlessly freaking out and they’re dropping a new video game, Lego City Undercover, in April, too. This is going to be a must cop.

Dessert: New Thundercat & Kendrick, my g. Perfect for a warm, climate-changed February day.

Daily Dose: 2/22/17

Magic Johnson knows a thing or two about the game

4:30 PMThis week feels like it’s taking forever. All of yesterday, I thought it was Wednesday, and for whatever reason, even on a short week, today feels like a Monday. My head schedule is all sorts of screwed up.

The White House doesn’t get it. A whole lot of people don’t like their administration (which is perfectly their right), and they’re showing up in different places to tell people that loudly and in public. It’s a fine American tradition, but the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. don’t seem to get that. As a result, every time it happens, they accuse the left of planting people and even paying people to create unrest. It makes no sense, but the official statements are getting more bizarre as the days go on.

Yo, Magic Johnson is a real slick dude. Now that he’s taken over the Los Angeles Lakers, everyone’s wondering, how on earth did this happen? He hinted at the situation a couple of weeks back, but now that it’s real, stories are coming out about just what went down. Turns out, Magic did a bit of dirty-macking to get the ball rolling. Jeanie Buss admitted that he hit her up after she broke up with Phil Jackson and they had dinner. Now, he’s the guy in charge. I mean, do what you gotta do, I guess. Oh, and it looks like he hired a general manager.

Everyone knows I watch a ton of The Bachelor. No shame in my game, it’s a great show and that’s all there is to it. But the production is interesting overall, as well. The booze in the house is always aplenty as we well know. But also, when do they eat? We basically never see anyone putting actual food into their mouths, even when they go on dinner dates. As it turns out, that’s basically for production reasons, but they do eat. What’s really interesting is that they’re allowed to pick their own groceries, too. This story explains the whole setup.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is making moves. Since there’s an eternal debate on how to speed up games, the latest idea is to make intentional walks just a signal that thus allows you to send a runner to first without throwing any pitches. It seems like a bit of a no-brainer, anyway. If it were me, I’d also allow guys to not run the bases if they didn’t want to after homers. As for the other change, both the league and the players union have accepted it. So, the days of wild pitches on walks are over. I will miss that, to be honest.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you know anything about punk and hardcore music, you’re familiar with Bad Brains. One of the original counter-culture groups, their lead singer, H.R., has been an incredibly wild character in the game for decades. Now, he’s battling health issues, so prayers up to him and his family. What a dude.

Snack Time: Gucci Mane’s incredible year is continuing. The man who’s dropped a bunch of pounds and a bunch of music has announced a tour for this summer, which promises to be lit. The bring-outs are going to be bananas.

Dessert: Every once in a while, you just need to watch fuzzy animals play.