Quickies: Rashida, Dennis, Souljah, Prince…

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1. Rashida Jones:

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Recently saw her in what may be her first starring role in a major film. She plays Paul Rudd’s betrothed in I Love You, Man.

‘Shida is a capable actress. (Like how I drop the first syllable of her name and just start calling her ‘Shida? That’s how we do. Though she doesn’t seem to be the ‘Shida type).

And that’s what kept going through my mind throughout the film. I kept wondering if Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy, considers herself a Black woman. Of course she does, right? But she was very race-neutral in the film. Which is a good thing, right?

It took me back to cheering for Mike Tomlin because he’s Black. When I saw ‘Shida on screen, I wanted to pump my fist. Yay! Black girls getting love in mainstream film! She’s the love interest. And her race is a non-issue! Whoo-hoo!

But wait. She’s the love interest. And her race is a non-issue. (To the point where she has no family to speak of throughout the entire movie. She’s marrying Rudd. And we meet his entire family. We see no one on her side. Not at the rehearsals. Not during downtime. Not during the wedding. Her two bridesmaids walk her down the aisle. Are they really making her race a non-issue if they don’t show her side of the family?) Whoo-hoo?

Am I overthinking this? Does it matter if Rashida is Black-identified or not? What does that even mean?

2. Dennis Rodman

He’s been getting beat up in the press lately. He was an ogre on The Apprentice. I can’t watch reality shows but TH and TG didn’t miss an episode. I took one look at Dennis sitting at the conference room table and I had to immediately get up and Google the words “Dennis Rodman” and “vitiligo.”

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Surely, I could not be the only one to notice that this man is clearly covering his skin with makeup. It’s why his lips look so disturbingly pink. I would bet money that he’s suffering from this irreversible skin condition.

Strangely enough, I couldn’t find anything that says that he has vitiligo. One gossip site mentioned it off-hand. And I’m surprised. You tell me. Does he not look like this might be his issue?

3. Souljah Boy

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Not clear on why the old fogies are hating on Souljah. It’s become de rigeur to blame him for everything that’s wrong with hip-hop. (My only quibble: he makes music for grown folks. And he looks like he’s ten. I had to tell Tog what “superman that hoooo” really meant and put a stop to that dance post-haste.) But all you 1988-ers are tripping over yourself to proclaim yourself above his elementary rhymes and rec room beats.

I have two words for you:

Nice and Smooth.

Herewith, a verse from their 1991 hit, “Funky For You.”

Rickety Rocket was my favorite cartoon/

After marriage the honeymoon/

I’ll be damn gag me with a spoon/

Who loves Popeye? Alice the Goon.

It wasn’t rocket science people. Nursery school rhymes over a sample. They might as well have been on an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.

But that was their style. And there was a place for them in the wide world of hip-hop.

I guess the purists would whine and moan that back then, there was more room for acts with more cerebral lyrics to get on Hot 97.

And to that I say…oh well. Get over it.

Souljah Boy does not make music for me. Maybe he doesn’t make music for you either. But the boy makes music. Lots of it. For his audience. And damn if he isn’t doing it well.

Oh. And if you don’t get Turn My Swag On, (not like it, necessarily, just get it, then you’re plainly hating.

4. Prince*

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He’s plum crazy. Watched him on Tavis Smiley last night. And it made me sad. He’s always been eccentric. On some next ish. But he sounded like he was clearly out of touch with reality. He’s an avid conspiracy theorist, a Bible-thumper with questionable views on the acceptance of our gay brethren. But you know what? None of that matters. The real issue is…his new music stinks. No, I did not sit and listen to all three CDs. No I didn’t sit and listen to one CD. I heard snippets. I heard enough. It bites. Full stop.

I will not even discuss his bootleg protege of the day, a Ms. Bria Valente:

elixer-bria-valente

She was also interviewed on Tavis. She’s a faux-Appolonia with zero personality and a sound so generic it hurt to listen. I will not discuss the excerpt of her new music video played on the show. We will not talk about the closeup shots of her lips. Or the scene of a random classic car hugging the curves of a mountainous highway. Her video looks like a Bollywood car commercial. Nope. Not discussing it.

Dear Readers: Does it matter if Rashida is called ‘Shida? Does it matter if she’s down? And why don’t I even question her sister Kidada’s identity? Is it because she was engaged to ‘Pac? Do you think Dennis has vitiligo? Are you feeling Souljah Boy’s Turn My Swag On? Did you hear Prince’s new music? What do you think? Is it a wrap for his purple majesty?

I’d love to hear from you…

*With apologies to my bestie, Portia M. Chinnery. Girl, I know how you feel about Prince. Y’know, the whole following-him-around-the-world thing. But your boy’s a nutcase. And the new music stinks. Sorry. But I dare you to publicly proclaim on this here Internets that you like the new triple album. I dare you.

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19 Responses to “Quickies: Rashida, Dennis, Souljah, Prince…”

  1. Katura Says:

    If they showed Rashida’s family in the movie, they’d have to make a decision on race–unless they selected all “race-neutral” looking actors and actresses to play Mom, Dad, sister, auntie, etc. And no, she does NOT look like a “Shida. (I did like how you did that though. LOL).

    Rodman looks like he’s covering something up. But I leave stuff like that alone. I can’t imagine how devastating that might be.

    Every few days I get “yeeeeeeaahhhh, yeeeee-aaaahhhhh” stuck in my head for hours. At first I was ashamed. Now I just enjoy it. There are so many silly, gimicky sounds out now. I don’t get mad. I know how to push play to hear from Mos Def when I need to.

  2. jovi Says:

    When I first saw Shida’s photo and started to read I had no idea she was Quincy’s daughter. Will google and read up her and check out the flick.

    Dennis is crazy. Did not watch him on the Apprentice, the previews/commercials was enough for me to stay away. If he does not have vitilago he must have some other skin disease, his skin looks bad. But put him in a dress and some pumps, Go Girl.

    “superman that hoooo” – I struggle with music. I can listen to a song over and over and never really listen to words. Was really thrown back when someone put me on to the lyrics of that song. I can’t hate on him for putting out hit records but as you mentioned he looks ten. Does his mom appreciate those lyrics?

    I love Nice and Smooth – next two lines, I think…
    Ladies let your body flow
    Send a chill up your spine like an Eskimo

    Prince is different. Never really liked his music so I will leave it at that.

  3. Taiia Says:

    Yes, I’m doing cartwheels and handstands because Rashida was Paul Rudd’s love interest, even when Mr. Rudd doesn’t deserve a woman 1/4 as cute as Rashida/’Shida. It’s the nose. It’s the hair. It’s…him.

    When we escape to the movies, we don’t always want the introduction of the boo to morph into Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Sidney Poitier) or Guess Who (Zoe Saldana), but they for damn sure shouldn’t blend into the wallpaper, either.

    That doesn’t mean I want to see some coon fest. Just give me some normal, hardworking, educated, fun-loving, slightly dysfunctional parents. And don’t make a big deal out of it, like everyone did when folk were up in arms about Cliff Huxtable being a doctor and Claire being an attorney.

    But even in the age of President Obama and all the who-ha about post-race, Hollywood can’t finesse a simple thing like hiring some parents for this woman on her wedding day. A day, mind you, that is all about the bride.

    Yes, treating Rashida/’Shida’s race as a non-issue is one for the plus column. But. Why not put a nice interracial couple at the rehearsal dinner and just leave it at that? Or have her black father walk her down the aisle and leave it at that? No explanation. No deep commentary. Anything would have been better than just ignoring the 300-pound gorilla in the room.

  4. Dylan Says:

    A: Good questions… Wondering if kids watching Rashida have any idea who her father is or just see her hair and figure she’s a white chick. When she was on “The Office” there was just one episode where they brought up that she’s “exotic”-looking (as part of an intentionally awkward and inappropriate joke). But again, other than that it never came up.

    Wondering if you saw “Rachel Getting Married.” If so, thoughts?

  5. Life and Lipgloss Says:

    I had the same conversation with a friend when I saw the movie. To be honest she DOES tend to pick movies that are very “racially ambiguous” and it bothers me. Usually in the type of “wedding movies” you always see both sides of the family and they only made ONE referenene in the movie when Paul Rudd’s character was trying on his Tux and the other character asked him for money and he said, ” well you know Zooey’s dad is not in the picture so we are paying for the wedding ourselves”. So, to me it is an issue.. embrace both sides black and white.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  7. Tanisha Says:

    @ Dylan Rachel Getting Married immediately came to mind. I thought nothing of all the different cultures and races shown in the film and how they all intertwined. Family is family. There are so many people of color in the world who come from cross cultural backgrounds. Its a reality that should be reprented on film and television more often. @ Aliya Rodman is special and the world knows it. He is difficult to look at because all I see is the crazy and not the man. But why should I? It isnt like I know him. Prince has been my man since forever. Yes he does make interesting musical choices, but thats the great thing about being an artist that chooses to take risk–the freedom to follow your artistic soul whether it pleases others or not. Just the fact that he is still a relevant artist, still gainng fans and (sometimes) still pleasing old ones is an accomplishment for a man with over 30 years in the music biz. If Prince is allowed to have some duds with a history of hits under his belt that far out weigh the trash. BTW, still revising for #TFW. Coming soon to the TFW for all to see. Thanks for the cyber kick in the arse.

  8. Kimmie Says:

    Yeah, I think you are reaching a bit with this one, lol. Personally, it didn’t bother me that Rashida is racially ambiguous in the movie. I mean, the movie was about HIM and his dilemma in finding male friends; it wasn’t about them planning their wedding day. Do we even know if her mother was alive? How do we know that her father (since it was stated he was out of the picture) was the one that was black? She could’ve been mixed with cuban for all we know. We don’t know how she was raised because it wasn’t relevant to the plot.

    OR, could it be she played the character like she is in real life? Based on the articles that I’ve seen about her, her characters seem to be reflective of who she is. Is something wrong with that? Are we then going to say she is in denial about her roots? Geeze louise…
    I thought something was wrong with Dennis too. Maybe he has had plastic surgery or something. IDK. But it is obvious that he has on more powder than a donut….

    I have no comment on Soulja Boy. I just can’t…..

    Prince is on some other ish for real. Yesterday I was in Target looking for new music and asked for suggestions and someone recommended him. I honestly can’t say I like any of his music after Diamond & Pearls. Even the album he made with that “Corozone” song was iffy.

  9. jay1 Says:

    1. rashida jones being race neutral is dope, her parents not being mentioned or seen is wack.

    2.dennis rodman is wearing makeup because of his acne.

    3. soulja boy sucks. also, how old is Tog? because if she’s under 21 i refuse to believe that you REALLY told her what “Superman that hoe” really means. if you think you did, you might not really know what it means. or maybe i don’t know what it really means…

    4. prince is irrelavant to pop culture right now, he’s still a genius though and a lot of “artist” could benefit from studying some of the innovative ways he’s decided to make money in the industry. his music is now wack because he’s isolated himself from humanity and he’s making music that sounds like he hasn’t left the house in forever.

    5. i don’t know who that last girl is.

  10. Aliya S. King Says:

    @jay1: Tog turned 12 a few weeks ago. And TH and I told her what it REALLY means: man. woman. ejaculate. cape.

    yeah. we went there. We do not shield her from the realities of hip-hop lyrics. It shows us just how horrible they are. When you have to explain it to a 12 year old, it all seems much, much worse.

    Now let’s hope and pray Tog’s mom is not reading this. Because she will kick my ass if she finds out that I keep it ultra-real.

  11. jay1 Says:

    that’s awesome! my parents let me find out in the street.

  12. clove Says:

    I’m so gonna be the type of parent who explains hip-hop lyrics to my kids!

    I dunno, I feel like kidada looks a little more ethnic, like black/latina, whereas rashida has mostly white features so it’s hard to consider her black, kinda like mariah carey. it’s so odd but I mean they’re definitely black.

    dennis rodman, yikes…if he does have vitiligo it would behoove him to be open about it

    I agree with you about soulja boy. people like to hate on him but he serves a purpose and I really don’t think he doesn’t KNOW how to rap. he’s young and I think has that potential; he just has a style that he’s sticking too. I do think though that as he progresses he’ll have to show his skills more or else people will keep putting him in that box

  13. SoSoulfull Says:

    1. Okay ‘shida who? Haven’t seen any of her movies/shows. I’m only mildly familiar with Kidada and naturally that’s because of her relationship with Tupac. Ultimately, if ‘shida (lol) wants to be the poster child for racially ambiguous roles then that’s fine by me, but her scripts can not leave so many obvious holes. That’s wack. Shoot, at least allow the sista a mother and a father! I’ll let you slide on the siblings, aunties, uncles, etc.

    2.Passing on Dennis Rodman, his whole persona annoys me (you probably right tho)

    3. Nice and Smooth? Soulja Boy? O no. No comparison. Granted, looking back N&S rhymes were corny/nursery-laced, but at least they didn’t try to make a whole track out of repeating the same five verses!? Shoot, our ‘back in the day rappers’ had (and still have, hopefully) WAY too much skill for that. Man, reading the lyrics to ‘Turn My Swag On’ just makes me cringe. Smdh. But ’tis is life and the kiddies will listen to anything these days. I just turn the channel and keep on movin’ like Soul II Soul.

    4. O boy, Prince? Hmmm, now I love me some of him, but he’s definitely slipping into the MJJ category with his antics. Haven’t picked up the new album, but in the end I’ll probably just download it and check it out. I will say this, his last album was on point. I mean, who didn’t like ‘Future Baby Mama’!? LOL!

    5. Okay, no comment on Appolonia 1.0.

  14. MegaDemus Says:

    I can only comment on Nice & Smooth. It hurt my heart to hear the comparison between Souja Boy and Nice & Smooth. I will admit a similarity in complexity of lyrics between the two. Actually Smooth B was and is more lyrical than Soujah(He wrote Rhymes for Bobby Brown on his albums), Greg Nice of course was fun but lyrically simplistic. But that is not were the real difference lies.

    Soujah boy & Arab aren’t the lyrical progeny of Nice & Smooth. Primarily because musically there is a great chasm. Now Soujah Boy is more in the vein of Hammer, simplistic rhymes very pop oriented dance music. Nice & Smooth, musically dance oriented but it wasn’t truly mainstream and wasn’t designed for constant radio play. When Nice & Smooth came out there was little question of their artistic integrity. Teaming up with Big Daddy kane and Gangstarr they have, for the most part(except for NKOTB), been associated with Real Hip Hop unlike Soujah…

  15. Aliya S. King Says:

    @MegaDemus:
    So if 50 or Jay decides to do a song with Soulja Boy than his association will give him “real hip hop” status? My point is that there is all kinds of hip-hop. Always has been. And people are dismissing Soulja Boy as if we haven’t always had simplistic hip-hop. I don’t think being simple and disposable makes you any less hip-hop.

  16. MegaDemus Says:

    @Aliya S. King
    You know this is a sensitive subject with me. One thing you have helped me realize is that I do not have a exclusive definition of hip hop. At one time I thought I did, thanks to you I concede there is no absolute defintion of ‘real’ Hip Hop.

    Never the less my previous point had little to do with Soujah Boy being “real hip hop”. It was more aimed at the relation between Nice & Smooth and Soujah Boy. You compared them previously and I didn’t see the relation as clearly. I believe Soujah Boy is indeed clearly counted among the Hip Hop diaspora, just more of a descendent from Hammer than Nice & Smooth(I had thought).

    Rereading my earlier entry I actually am not sure what would be a proper example of a precursor to Soujah Boy. Busy Bee? Too Short? Spoonie Gee? Fat Joe? Candy Man? Newcleus? Yes indeed, you have humbled me…

  17. Carolyn Says:

    A couple of thoughts:

    Rashida Jones: It would appear she is positioning herself in the “race neutral” category, similar to Maya Rudolph and Jennifer Beals. I don’t judge her for that, one way or the other. I’m pretty sure she knows who and what she is. Whether or not she identifies herself as a black woman is none of my business. I like Rashida Jones and wish her well in her career.

    Interesting that many readers thought of “Rachel Getting Married” — which was written by Jenny Lumet, Lena Horne’s (mixed black/Jewish) granddaughter and someone who definitely appears to identify as race-neutral instead of belonging to any particular race or ethnic group.

    Finally, I applaud you for telling Tog what “superman that ho” really means. I have a 12-year-old daughter and I tell her what song lyrics actually mean, too. Most of the time, she already knows. She feigned ignorance of the real meaning behind Britney’s “If You Seek Amy,” but I wouldn’t let her get away with it. Sometimes she’s grossed out once she gets it (Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” was one example), but other times, she just shrugs and says, “I like the song; I don’t even really listen to the lyrics.” I hope Tog’s mom understands.

  18. Aliya S. King Says:

    @MegaDemus: I am JUST realizing who you are. I mean, I should have known, by the name. But I just put it together. And I’m just realizing you’ve been commenting for a minute. Um. Hi?

  19. MegaDemus Says:

    Hey what’s up? I’m enjoying this world. Interesting…

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