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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Single Ladies that are not quite “Living Single”

I heard about this show about two years ago when a producer I use to intern for mentioned the new project she was working on. She described it as a Sex in the City set in Atlanta featuring black women. Interesting and exciting, huh? Maybe. Then, I didn’t hear about it until the week before its premiere. There could be a blog within itself asking the question why this show wasn’t promoted much, but I don’t want to go off on a tangent.

I write this blog fresh from watching the premiere. I tried to wait, but my laptop sat at my feet calling my name. The feeling from the ending, and throughout the entire show, still lingers. A feeling of … confusion. For some reason, I’m extremely unsure about this show. I really don’t know how I feel about this show just yet. I want to see how it’s going to develop.  But for some reason, I really want to like it!

First, two hours was just too long. It felt more like an under developed movie than a television show premiere. It had its moments, but it became taxing to watch. I kept looking to see how much time was left, and it started after the first 30 minutes of the show. That’s never a good feeling to have. I also almost turned it off about 20 minutes before its end. Hopefully the hour-long episodes won’t be so bad.

Secondly, it was an overload… of everything. I feel drained after watching that show. The pilot was just too much too fast. It was a whole season of drama within one episode. Ask anyone, I love my fair share of drama, so when I say it’s too much, then it’s too much. I think I would have been more interested if I had time to be invested in the characters (and that the key tool in a sitcom). There was so much drama, I was desensitized by the end of the show, and I didn’t care what happened.

With all the drama and the loooooong premiere episode, the resolution became cheesy. I cannot argue that they have some great set ups, but I’m kind of disappointed that so much happened so soon. There was heavy drama within the first two minutes. Why so soon? Reel me in, please! Then reveal. If you give me drama before I care about the character, the drama makes me roll my eyes and say “Get over yourself”. The great thing about a television show is that you have time to play with a lot of things. As much as I want them to keep up the stakes, I’m a little frightened of the drama overload. After all of that, the only reason I want to come back next week is to see how they handle an hour.

I also fee like they drummed the “single ladies” theme into our head. Okay, I get that the show is supposed to be about single ladies. I got that from the title, but do it subtly.  Living Single was about living single, but you weren’t always reminded. As a (newly) single woman, I don’t want to keep being reminded that I’m single. I want to subconsciously connect to the trials and tribulations of the single life.

As much as I want to like this show, it just seems… overdone. I feel like they’re trying to hard, and that’s an extra turn off. There were some good moments and nice story set ups, but it didn’t wow me. And a pilot is supposed to wow me, so I will come back next week. Yes, I may be coming back next week, but I don’t have high hopes. I’m waiting on them to prove to me that I’m wrong. I’m charging the problems up to the too long series premiere. I guess I can equate this feeling to when I watch Love That Girl and Let’s Stay Together watching the next episode hoping it will be good, and both of those shows are womp! I’m ready to support, so I hope there’s something to support.

 

Black History 24/7 #6: Remembering a REVOLUTIONary

 

“Young rappers, one more suggestion before I get out of your way/
But I appreciate the respect you give me and what you got to say
I’m sayin’ protect your community and spread that respect around
Tell brothas and sistas they gotta calm that bullshit down…”

The time is 1970. A few years have passed since after the Civil Rights movement in America reached its apex and resulted in legislative victories for African-Americans – but all Americans, really – through the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1965. While the “Colored” and “White” signs are gone from many public establishments, there are still many Americans at the time who haven’t put aside racist thoughts and assumptions about Blacks. African-Americans had access, but still limited opportunities. And the most outspoken figureheads of the movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, were recently assassinated within years of each other. Black America is frustrated. The Black Panther Party is losing some of its fire and falling apart due to internal agendas and a focus on “I instead of we” mentalities. Black America is searching for its soul. Black America is looking for its protest voice again.

Enter Gil Scott-Heron. Scott-Heron, in a sense, could be considered the more soulful, more engaging counterpart to other protest voices that had emerged at that point in time, such as controversial radio host Petey Greene. Scott-Heron was celebrated especially because he seemed to be the personification of the anger, frustration, and feelings of post-progress stagnation amongst Blacks at the time. He blended elements of soul, jazz, and spoken word poetry to create what many consider an early form of rap music. Scott-Heron would step on stage and immediately command attention and respect in his dashiki and big afro. Accompanied by head-bobbing, finger-snapping instrumentation in the background, his subtle yet powerful voice rumbled ominously on “songs” ranging from tragic to “soapboxing” to full out militant motivation. From 1970 until about 1993, Scott-Heron flaunted his lyrical prowess on albums bearing such names as Winter in America, Pieces of a Man, and Moving Target, consistently telling the stories of the oppressed and underserved.

His best and perhaps most-known work, is a soulful track entitled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Through pop culture references and a tone of stern finality applied to each verse, Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” was pretty much the spoken word equivalent of Laurence Fishburne screaming for everyone to “WAKE UP!” on the campus of Mission College. He called out Black people’s limited attention spans at the time and over-reliance on the news and media to get their information instead of seeking out the facts themselves. “The Revolution,” Scott-Heron assured his listeners, “will put you in the driver’s seat. The revolution will be no re-run, Brothers. The Revolution will be live.” Indeed, the first time I myself heard of Scott-Heron was when I heard this particular poem played during one of the boxing match scenes in Norman Jewison’s 1999 biopic of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Other great pieces of Scott-Heron’s, often directed to societal issues at the time, include “We Almost Lost Detroit” and “Johannesburg.”

“See that gent in the wrinkled suit? He done damn near blown his cool to the bottle…”

While Scott-Heron was an amazing speaker and consistently dropped knowledge on wax, he was as much a victim of the perils he spoke of as he was an informer. Even the best amongst us have vices, and Scott-Heron’s – in an almost eerie way, analogous to the “doctor” in the last verse of his song “The Bottle” – was cocaine. On two separate occasions in 2001 and 2006, Gil Scott-Heron was arrested on drug related charges. He did, however, attempt to bounce back after being paroled in 2007. He refocused his attention on spoken word performances and worked on a novel; and in 2010, he released another album, I’m New Here, which while not commercially well-known, was acclaimed by music critics.

“… the young folks need to know, that things don’t go both ways
You can’t talk respect on every other song or just every other day…
On one song she’s your African Queen – on the next one, she’s a joke
And you ain’t said no words that I haven’t heard, but that ain’t no compliment
It only insults eight people out of ten and questions your intelligence
It’ll only magnify how shallow you are and let everybody know it…”

Yesterday, on May 26, 2011, at 62 years old, Gil Scott-Heron died. It is almost fittingly poetic that, decades later, generations still continue to enjoy manifestations of Gil Scott-Heron’s work. It’s no surprise why some consider Gil Scott-Heron’s proto-rap style as foundational to the emergence of hip-hop as a music form. To this very day, Scott-Heron’s “Revolution” poem has been employed in numerous rap songs. Rapper Kanye West was also influenced by Scott-Heron, having sampled Scott-Heron’s work for many of his own songs, such as “My Way Home” and the recent track off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, “Who Will Survive in America.”

Today, Black History 24/7 remembers and celebrates the legacy of Gil Scott-Heron, pioneering spoken word artist. Let us do our very best to ensure THIS MAN’S Revolution, while not televised, is certainly twittered, facebooked, ThreadBlogged, and most importantly, LIVED.

The Legend. Rest in Peace, Gil Scott-Heron (4/1/49 - 05/27/11)

 
 

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J is for Junkie

Often when we see people on the street we dehumanize them to give ourselves some comfort. Here is a film that helps reverse that. J is for Junkie by Corey Davis h/t SMKA

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Love

 

Is College Really Worth It?

I’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a cynical soundtrack while you read.

“…And your mother’s sayin ‘go to college’, so you finish college and it’s wonderful. You feel so good, and after all the partying and crazing and don’t forget about that drug habit you picked up at school being around your peers, hey, now you’ll get that 25 thou job a year…”

First off, congratulations to the recent graduates!  I’ve been putting off writing about this topic because frankly, it depresses me.  For those of you who don’t know me or haven’t quite figured out my identity, I graduated from Texas 3 years ago, worked for 2 years, and am now in grad school pursuing dual-master’s degrees.  As you can imagine, I’m not looking forward to repaying the loans that stand right behind the light at the end of my academic tunnel.  Here at the ThreadBlog, all of us have degrees, advanced degrees, and/or college experience.  Before you congratulate us and marvel at our academic prowess, realize that most of us have mountains of debt we’re either paying or soon will be when we leave the “safe haven” of academia.  If that’s not sobering enough for you, most of us aren’t where we want to be professionally, either.  The fact of the matter is that it’s a new game out here.  The “real world” isn’t our parents’ “real world” anymore.  I’ve had this discussion with my parents on quite a few occasions, and I tell them that their high school diploma is essentially equivalent to my bachelor’s degree.  You know how they say you can’t do much with a high school diploma these days?  That same thing can be said about a bachelor’s degree.  I didn’t have offers waiting for me to sift through after I crossed the stage like my parents did. I had to scratch, claw, and bite my way to a post-undergraduate internship. Of course, a lot of that has to do with one’s field of study and career path, but overall, the job market is so cut-throat these days, and so many people have discovered that they have to keep going educationally to get a leg up on the competition and move further along on their career paths.

“You’ll come in at an entry level position and when you do that, if you kiss enough ass, you’ll move up to the next level, which is being the secretary’s secretary!”

Here are some statistics that I managed to procure for your reading pleasure:
-In July of 2010, the unemployment rate for college graduates was 4.7%, up from 2.8% a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
-This is much lower than the 9.4% rate for workers with only a high school diploma
-Two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients last year graduated with an average debt of about $23,000, according to Finaid.org
-Total debt for borrowers with graduate or professional degrees ranges from $30,000 to $120,000
-The average salary for recent graduates in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000, down 10 percent from the previous year
-Student debt has topped credit card debt (likely to top $1 trillion this year or about $24,000 a person)
-57% of Americans say that college education is not a good value for the money
-A four year degree costs on average $140,000

That’s enough bad news.  I just wanted to show the facts (college taught me that).  By now, you’re probably thinking that the answer to my initial question is no.  College sucks, is a total waste of an investment, and not worth the mountain of debt that you will surely incur.  Actually, that can’t be any further from the truth.  The thing that many surveys and articles on the topic fail to acknowledge is that college offers a lot that you can’t possibly put a price tag on.  While I admit that I hardly remember a thing from my freshman philosophy class, sophomore economics course, junior management seminar, or senior finance class, the lessons outside of the classroom, experiences, and people I added to my network have helped mold me into the person that I am now.  College is just as much about getting the tools you need to be successful in your career as it is about sharpening the tools you already have to be successful in life.  I met some of my best friends in college.  I met people and experienced things that I never would have if I didn’t undertake that debt and go off to school.  I’ve seen so many places, learned about so many cultures, and opened my mind to so many new things because of college.  There’s no way I can price these because I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  College is the time to try new things (for better or for worse), fall on your face, pick yourself up, build a supporting cast around you, learn something, and enjoy the ride.  Sure, it’s expensive and tiresome, but it makes for 4, 5, or 6 years of the best years in life.

“You keep it going, man; you keep those books rolling. You pick up those books you’re going to read and not remember and you roll, man. You get that associate’s degree, okay. Then you get your bachelor’s.  Then you get your master’s. Then you get your master’s master’s. Then you get your doctrine [sic]. You go, man, then when everybody says quit, you show them those degrees, man.”

The more expensive college gets, the bigger the gap between the educated and uneducated gets.  College was never an option for me because both of my parents are college educated, which I count as a blessing.  I had to go to college.  I realize that not everyone comes from that background.  With that in mind, I always applaud those who are the first in their family to go to college and/or graduate.  It’s a huge investment and a leap of faith, but one that is so rewarding.  Unlike a lot of things in life that we pay for, no one can ever take a college degree away from you once you earn it.  You can outgrow clothes, wreck a car, or lose a house, but a degree is yours and yours forever.  With that said, is college really worth it? Absolutely and without a doubt, yes.

-23

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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Education

 

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Playlist – Prelude to a Long Summer

Ah. Do you hear that peaceful quiet in the air, thREADERS? Do you feel that light breeze even as the hot sun is bearing down upon your neck? Well, you do if you’re in the Great State of Texas, anyway.

We’re officially on the edge of the start of summer, y’all. For some of you, you’re recently graduated and walking fresh off of a campus that left you with many memories, some beautiful, some brutal. Some of you will be heading off to more school, while others will either start new professions or pull your sleeves up as you prepare to dive into the job market. Some of you will be recently emancipated from or ex-ed out of a relationship. Some of you might be taking classes over the summer or simply working to stack up a little something before the fall semester starts. And some of you will be fighting to keep up with the rush of summer blockbuster movies coming out while not killing your bank accounts – or your sanity after back-to-back weeks of midnight showings – in the process. Whatever you have next on deck, one thing’s for certain – you’re in for a long summer. And what’s the best way to get through a long summer? Good drinks, good company, and most importantly, good music.

I know it seems like everybody these days has a “mixtape” for something, especially if you’re in college (there are mixtapes, it seems, for the stepshows, the pageants, the parties and the after-parties). But we here at The Thread Blog are all about quality and this playlist is no different. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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What Happened To Wrestling?

We have definitely been lacking on posting new blog entries here at the site, and we definitely apologize for it. So I thought I’d hit the way back machine, and talk about something near and dear to my heart: WWF/WCW Wrestling from the early 90’s to the early 2000’s. Alright, here we go….. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Frank Ocean and The Weeknd: R&B’s Shots to the Arm

You should know by now that I love R&B.  It has had its ups and downs over the years, and it certainly isn’t what it was during the age of Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Silk, En Vogue, and TLC, but it has continued to evolve.  It has grown up.  It has undertaken and embraced more mature themes.  It works.  The lovey-dovey songs have made room for the highly sexual and drug-induced ballads.  Before you decide that that’s not your cup of tea, remember that music conveniently lends itself to drug users.  Show me a legendary artist, and I’ll show you a drug user (there are a few exceptions, but work with me).  Now, I keep my ears to the streets, and there are two mixtapes that I urge you to download (free and legal).  Those two mixtapes are “Nostalgia, Ultra” by Frank Ocean and “House of Balloons” by The Weeknd. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Music

 

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