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.
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.
All Day Podcast: 1/24/17
It’s Oscar season and New Edition is back to breaking hearts
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The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, so we invited The Undefeated’s senior entertainment writer, Kelley Carter, into Studio D410 to talk about that and her favorite subject in the whole world: New Edition. She compiled an oral history of their album Heart Break, which was released in 1988 on MCA Records. The piece runs just in time for those of you who are watching BET’s three-part miniseries, The New Edition Story, which is airing this week.
In addition, Kelley broke down this year’s Oscar nominations, which have featured far more people of color this year than previously. You might recall that the academy made a concerted effort to expand the type of individuals who vote on these awards. Though there might not necessarily be any direct connection between how these two things work, the difference is obvious from two years ago.
Lastly, the gang talked about Jay Z’s newest deal with Sprint, which should bolster Tidal’s presence in the streaming music market. The only one in the group who actually subscribes to Jay Z’s service is Jill Hudson, so she offered some insight into what the service is actually like.
WorldStarHipHop founder dies
Lee ‘Q’ O’Denat was 43
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With profound sadness, WorldStarHipHop and its employees, state that Lee ODenat, known as “Q”, the founder, leader and genius behind the website and brand has passed in San Diego. Q was a brilliant businessman who championed urban culture, ultimately creating the largest hiphop website in the world. But more than that, he was a devoted father and one of the nicest, most generous persons to ever grace this planet. We will miss his hearty laugh and warm spirit. WorldStarHipHop will continue in its various endeavors. We ask that you remember Q in your prayers and raise a toast to the sky in his name.
Lee “Q” O’Denat will never get the credit he deserves. The creator of WorldStarHipHop died in San Diego while visiting a massage parlor, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fittingly, TMZ first reported his death. He was 43 years old. He’s no longer with us, but the impact of the website he created, while measurable in clicks and page views, cannot be overvalued from a culture standpoint.
Among a certain cadre of people who consider themselves tastemakers, WSHH was an ugly duckling that grew into not a beautiful swan, but a hulklike mutant that permanently realigned the balance of power in hip-hop and, to an extent, black culture altogether. For every absurd fight video, there might have been a reasonable mixtape to listen to. For all the random montages of women with few clothes on, there was some kid dancing his face off in a living room that made you wonder when they’d be famous.
"American Home Funniest Video" is the white mans "Worldstar Hiphop" for the '90s
— lee (@yungpistachio) January 15, 2017
Wow, RIP World Star Q. As as complicated of a legacy as it gets, but easily one of the most influential hip-hop figures of the millennium.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) January 24, 2017
By balancing the boom of the internet as an independent distribution platform and a proverbial renaissance of ratchet, WSHH embodied everything about a world that wasn’t ready to accept it as a major player in the game. You didn’t have to like it, but the site had legit exclusive content. It’s particularly sad because WSHH had just inked a deal with MTV2 to create a television series.
There’s speculation that heart failure, brought on by obesity issues, was the cause of death for O’Denat. If so, it’s another reminder of how maintaining healthy habits is something that so many black men have difficulty doing in many parts of America. You can scream “Worldstar!” next time you go to the doctor. It just might save your life.
Q revolutionized hip hop and urban media with world star hip hop. R.I.P
— $trokes Blackaveli (@Richbla37722012) January 24, 2017
The site has no plans to shutter, and his loss created shockwaves around the hip-hop world.
Daily Dose: 1/25/17
Usain Bolt loses a gold medal, nine years later
12:00 PMJust in time for the Oscars and the New Edition miniseries on BET, we talked to our senior entertainment reporter Kelley L. Carter on the All Day Podcast. You can tune in here and subscribe here.
President Donald Trump is caught in a lie. And he’s willing to spend your tax dollars to try to get out of it. Here’s the issue, though – you can’t just walk into a room and tell members of Congress that you think “illegals” (no human is illegal by the way) stole votes during the national election. That’s not a claim you can just lob out there. Because if you think that’s true, there’s a larger issue at hand than just the legitimacy of your own presidency. And so, media members said, if it’s so bad, why not investigate? Now, he is. We’ll believe that when we see it.
When they tell you who was the leader of the resistance movement, make sure to pay attention. Teen Vogue, a publication for young women that’s led by a black woman, will be on the list. As will the social media director of a national park. You might not have guessed those immediately, but then again, that’s why we’re here. Whoever handles the Twitter feed of the Badlands National Park took direct aim at many of the president’s claims and policies from their official account by posting facts. Many of those have now been deleted.
Discussing the nominees for the Oscars is one thing. But figuring out who’s going to win is another. Some of these categories are extremely stacked and one that immediately comes to mind is that of the documentaries. Three of them are primarily about black folks and all of them are tremendous, so, somebody is going to miss out. If it were any other year, they’d all be favorites to win. Anyways, take a look at this statistical breakdown of who’s most likely to walk away with a gold trophy at the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Usain Bolt is a gold medal short, thanks to doping. Not his doping, but that of a teammate. The superstar Jamaican sprinter had one from the 2008 Olympics repealed after it was found that a member of his relay team, Nesta Carter, was on a banned stimulant. Seems like an awful long time later for this to come out, but whatever. I also wonder if they have to actually return the physical object. Because not everyone keeps those. What if you’d sold it off, then what? Who knows. Anyway, Bolt is down to eight golds, which puts him behind Carl Lewis.
Coffee Break: I can’t even explain to you how much we love #SaltBae around here. The Turkish butcher, who rose to fame with his balletlike knife skills because of Black Twitter, is now opening up his own places in New York and London. Fam says he wants to communicate with people through meat, which is a really funny thing to say.
Snack Time: Our thoughts and prayers are with Erin Andrews, who’s gone through so much publicly in her career. This story about her most recent battle, this time with her own body is inspirational.
Dessert: Hey, Aussie Open. Get your social media people. This is wack.
Ice Cube’s Hollywood takeover continues
The rapper-turned-actor’s production company gets major investment from Hong Kong-based company
1:00 PM“Yeah, I’ll check out a movie, but it’ll take a black one to move me.”
That’s what Public Enemy’s Chuck D said on the 1990 single Burn Hollywood Burn, an uptempo track that highlighted the history of negative portrayals of black characters in film and television. Nearly 30 years later, the man who penned the second verse on that track, Ice Cube, is still fighting that cause.
This week, Cube Vision signed a film deal with AID Partners, reportedly in the eight-figure territory, which basically allows the company to develop projects as it sees fit, with its own people, and not be subjected to the foolishness that is the studio development process. And last month, Cube Vision signed a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox to create television projects for both on-air and streaming platforms.
“It’s hard to think of a more multidimensional artist than Ice Cube, whose influence on the culture and enormous talent is virtually unrivaled. He’s a performer, a songwriter, a recording artist, an actor and a filmmaker, and his work speaks to a broad, multigenerational audience,” Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman told Deadline at the time.
Don’t look now, but Cube’s made almost 20 movies. You can say what you want about the quality of said films, but there’s no denying at this point that his moves away from the music game are now far enough away from just being a foray designed to cash in on his popularity as a rapper. Cube is a filmmaker and one who’s been as productive as almost any other in the black community in the past 15 years. He’s not just beating people up on camera, he’s creating opportunities for people of color in the film world to create.
Then again, we knew he was one of the smartest people in Los Angeles when he walked away from N.W.A. in the first place.
Daily Dose: 1/24/17
It should be an interesting year at the 89th annual Academy Awards
12:30 PMMonday night’s episode of The Bachelor was the best of the season so far. Slowly, but surely, we’re going to get Domonique Foxworth to watch the show. Right now, he’s just got fire takes about who should actually win.
The nominees for the Academy Awards are out. By the way, let’s not forget that the creator of #OscarsSoWhite is April Reign. That said, the Academy is apparently trying to change things on that front, and this year, in the best picture category there are three films that are primarily dealing with black folks: Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures. Also, O.J. Made in America made the list for documentaries. There were some rather surprising snubs, mostly in the animated movie realm. Here’s the full list.
The White House has a loose relationship with the truth. Press Secretary Sean Spicer is clearly not a guy who plans on doing anything other than President Donald Trump’s bidding, which while it is his job also affects him personally. If you’re wondering, by the way, it’s not like the chain of command at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is super stable. Spicer is having trouble understanding why so many people are constantly critical of the administration he’s a part of. He’s also doing a really bad job of explaining why their propaganda game is so ineffective.
Losing games to computers is nothing new. Every night when I play FIFA 17 on my Xbox, I’m likely to lose to the system at least once. But back in the ’80s, chess masters started playing against computers as a way to test their abilities, which is a totally different monster than me sitting on my couch. Now it appears that the machines are coming for the latest televised nonsport game that has taken over the nation: poker. For someone who doesn’t play poker, I can’t imagine this will improve the television product, but as a stunt, it is intriguing.
The Washington Wizards want so bad to be relevant. They’ve managed to pull that off in the past few weeks in the NBA, ascending all the way to fifth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve developed a little thing with the Boston Celtics, which is cute. Regular-season rivalries are always a tad awkward when neither team is particularly good otherwise. Now, the Zardos are saying they plan to wear all black to their game Tuesday night. Cool, guys. Good to see the squad is focused on what matters.
Coffee Break: Over the years, MTV has rolled out a variety of shows that changed the course of pop culture. My Super Sweet 16 is one of them. If you don’t recall, it was basically Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for teenagers looking to celebrate their birthdays. Now, MTV is bringing it back. This is going to be excellent.
Snack Time: It never ceases to impress me which parts of the globe hip-hop stretches to, often as a voice for those who otherwise are silenced. Check out this story about how the Iranian diaspora is now in the game.
Dessert: Post Malone’s new video with Quavo for Congratulations feels like it was a lot of fun to shoot.