RTishB | BAPs v. B.A.P.S.

The cast of BAPs (l-r) Kristen, Gina, can’t remember, Anisha’s friend, Anisha, Anisha’s boo, Riccarda I believe, and Jason.

I was utterly surprised to learn Lifetime had added another reality show to their lineup. Casually catching up on the addictive dance series Bring It, I saw the Blackstreet-tuned advert for BAPs. Immediately I imagined Neicey and Mickey parading around Rodeo Drive to Inner City’s “Good Life.” I felt a hint of nostalgia as well as apprehension. What exactly did Lifetime know about Robert Townsend’s urban gem? And then I was reassured – absolutely nothing.

These Black American Princesses or Princes (Yeah. Right) are le creme de le creme of black suburbia. Think if BET’s Baldwin Hills took a detour to the streets of St. Louis, minus the Hollywood connections. These folks are “Cosby” black. They would have rubbed ELBOWs with Regine’s uppity wives’s council and sought out internships from Greg Bougie. (If you don’t know those references, you may be a BAP) As a matter of fact, the way the show’s subjects describe themselves, I’d be more inclined to think they wouldn’t have watched B.A.P.S.

Our guide to the world of the rich and melanin-induced is Anisha, a recent divorcee and mother of little Jean Baptiste. While a little aloof and dramatic, she seems to be kindhearted and genuine. Through Anisha we are introduced to the rest of the cast: her best male friend; the other guy Jason; the independently-successful Gina; the spicy Riccarda; and, finally, Anisha’s frenemy, Kristen. The entire episode focuses on Anisha and Kristen’s diffused friendship because of a squabble two years prior.  Allegedly they both were talking behind each other’s back (and the re-enactments at the salon sorta proved that (?)) and Kristen dealt Anisha a low blow denouncing her as a bad mother. Anisha retorted with cursing Kristen’s womb barren.

I think we all have been watching  women squabble on TV long enough to know motherhood and children are the two no-nos in reality fighting, next to talking ill of Kandi’s mother and calling men “bitches.” Fast forward to present day, Anisha shares joint custody with her ex-husband and Kristen has had a child, so neither of those statements rang true. Yet the grudge is being held like a Japanese horror film. And it’s quite exhausting. Their friends force reconciliation at numerous gatherings to only beget an explosive bout of words and shade. Even in the most heated discourse, in the middle of a posh kitchen, the zenith of the argument results in Anisha actually spitting in Kristen’s face. The last time someone tossed a loogie in the name of reality television, Pumpkin was almost smashed by New York.

Hands weren’t thrown. A weave wasn’t snatched. A cuticle wasn’t scratched. Are they too cultured to reduce themselves to the normal coming of the hands; or, they just ain’t about that life. I’m going to choose the latter. Being it was only the first episode, the show has room to grow. Especially once it introduces new players to the scene. And I understand it’s direction of showcasing a different blackness than viewers are used to digesting. I just hope it gives us what we all want and expect to a certain extent: drama and a reason to care. Or else they should have taken their cameras to East St. Louis.

Coon In | “Hotwives” Gets a Bravo from Me

Viewers have become enraptured with the many highs and plentiful more lows of the women that star in the various ‘housewives’ reality shows. As daily soaps lost their thrills, the affairs from NYC to OC became the new daytime/primetime water cooler fervor. Despite the success, it’s evident to see the unreality in these extreme situations, and what better way to celebrate this grand rise in popular culture than to turn it into a parody i.e. “Weird Al” Yankovic them.

Hulu exclusively picked up The Hotwives of Orlando this summer, a hilarious satire of the reality titans. Grabbing quips from all the whimsical wives’ series – mainly Bravo’s biggest cash cows – the show depicts the trivial happenings of Florida’s elite imbeciles. Every caricature is highlighted to the 100th power: the Long Island-accented bad chick; the ethnically-loud nicknamed token; the friend striving for a peach next season; even Bravo’s Andy Cohen gets ripped at the end of each episode. Which usually consists of cat fights igniting at the mere drop of a wildly-tossed “calm down.”

The show has a great cast including Happy Endings alum Casey Wilson. She plays Tawny, a svelte gold-digging socialite who wastes her time contributing to charities to remind her why she’s better than her cast mates.  If you like watching the real wives or not, Hotwives is a slam dunk in hilarity. Peep the trailer below.

Coonin’ Soon | McGruder’s “Black Jesus”

Aaron McGruder may have disappointed hardcore fans with the final season of his beloved adult swim classic “The Boondocks” but for good reason. The comedic writer has decided in spectacular fashion to steer his talents  to a higher purpose.  Come August 7th all the world will rejoice and welcome “Black Jesus.”

Those two words separately can ignite an array of reactions, but together controversy is sure to be st ablaze.  The live action series settles in Compton, CA with the return of Christ as just another brother. Some folks are ecstatic for his return, while others are clearly skeptical. An extended trailer was released yesterday and looks fantastic. Peep it below and hold on to your rosary.

Ramblings | BET Awards 2014

My cheers, jeers and fears from Black Entertainment Television’s 2014 Awards telecast. The once ratings monster just is not what it used to be. I don’t know if it’s the network, the changes of the music industry, or my age, but the soul of the show (and black music currently) seems unfamiliar. While that is a different topic to discuss, let me just get to the nitty gritty.

CHEERS

  • Chris Rock | One can never really go wrong with the highly jarring Rock as host. He delivered a seemingly perfect performance last night, if one dismisses the moments he had to quickly improvise due to BET’s issue with timeliness. And even then he didn’t miss.
  •  Usher | The old dog pulled some new tricks with a medley of hits (Confessions is still the jam) and his new tantalizing single “Good Kisser.” He isn’t the bright-eyed “Yeah” crooner of yesteryear, but he held his own as a veteran in the business.
  • Lionel Richie | Never fully enveloped his impact on music until last night. If it wasn’t “All Night Long” or a Commodores hit, I really didn’t listen. He’s one of music’s biggest stars. Should have seen him at Bonnaroo. His tribute was awesome with John Legend proving why he’s one of a dying breed. And Yolanda took us to church with “Jesus Is Love.”
  • 90s Reunion&B | BET has made it a routine to reminisce of it’s grander times (it’s golden era) the 1990s – where hip-hop and, more importantly, R&B garnered mainstream success. We were whisked down memory lane with appearances from Troop, Color Me Badd and Silk.
  • Music Matters | Two artists made their national network debuts on the BET stage last night. Gabi Wilson and Adrian Marcel, both newly minted Music Matters artists. Wilson sang a snippet of her single “Something to Prove” while Marcel belted a cover of “This Is A Man’s World.” Wish them the best in the dawn of their careers.
  • Pharrell reps VA | Skateboard P opened the show with “Come Get It Bae” and seemed pretty standard until midway. Suddenly the beat changed to a synth-heavy pulsating and out from behind the bleachers came M.SE herself. Missy Elliott cameoed for a quick spitting of her hit “Pass that Dutch.” A big and much-welcomed surprise.
  • Ruby & Maya | Phylicia Rashad exuded excellence in her stirring tribute to two women who’s lives help mold rights and movements of yesteryear that made today possible. Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou were true legends of their craft and for their people. Black couldn’t have gotten any more beautiful than that moment.

JEERS

  • Iggy | While I love “Fancy” and enjoy her album, Iggy’s performance was forgettable. And T.I.’s attempt to remind us that he still raps fell on deaf ears.
  • Five Years for Nicki | For the fifth straight year Nicki Minaj coveted the Best Female Hip-Hop Award. And for the fifth year, she had no competition. When BET scrounges the lyrical abyss to find Charlie Baltimore, you know the femcee in this hip-hop game is being silenced by the powers that be. The 90s was also a time where female thrived in hip-hop. Now they are mere blips unless one dives into the underground circuit. For Nicki to be the best she’s got to beat the best and it hasn’t happened yet.
  • BET #OnTheRun | Rather than just let The Carters enjoy their tour, BET concocted a way to televise a previously recorded snippet of the On the Run tour as Bey and Jay’s “performance.” Unlike her live performance of “End of Time” a year or so ago, this was a shoddy taping of the two doing “Partition.” BET exhausted 2 hours and fifty minutes for a YouTube clip. Tried. It.

FEARS

  • R&B today | It’s most likely a generational thing, but I do not like where rhythm & blues is right now. Everything sounds and exudes the exact same essence. There is too much rap in my R&B. The 1990s flirted with the mixing of hip-hop/soul to make classic records. And once the collaboration was done, they went back to their respective ends of the spectrum. But today everything is blurred. Rap&B has is this pop-thug-with-my-heart-on-my-shoulder-and-a-blunt-in-my-mouth genre that is just exhausting. Chris Brown’s “Loyal” is a rap song sung. More censoring than actual lyrics. And Trey Songz has been yodeling the same club anthem since “Bottoms Up.” August Aslina, who I still have reservations about, sounded the strongest of those three, but why are you in love with the shit, rather than the girl? Did I miss the exact moment when singing about love was no longer popular in R&B?
  • The Red Carpet Preshow | The preshow was like one showing up to a black Greek party on time, for two hours. Vacant dance floor. Shoddy equipment. Hot as hell. Between the dull interviews and the bootleg 360 wardrobe camera, I felt like someone had let all the air of of E’s Red Carpet Specials. Two hours of well wasted.

CP Time | Star Trek Into Darkness

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Boringly enjoying my Memorial Day Weekend with Netflix and Hulu, I managed to finally sit down and digest J.J. Abrams masterful Trek sequel. Into Darkness was a superb follow up to the Pine/Quinto reboot who both do the Kirk/Spock dynamic justice. While I have never been a Trekkie, I do enjoy a great script and sci-first action, and Into Darkness delivered.

From the great ensemble cast to Cumberbatch’s brilliant Khan, the film never settles into wading waters of boring. The narrative flows despite being mildly predictable. Kirk is faced with a setback once his off-the-hip judgment calls lose him the Enterprise. His quarter-life career crisis is magnified once an attack on Starfleet by one of their own catapults a battle that drives them across the galaxy to Kronos, the planet of Earth’s greatest nemesis the Klingon. Kirk, Spock and the crew are faced with a great dilemma once the truth is finally revealed.

I for one can not wait for Abrams next installment, and I may possibly check out his interpretation of another galaxy, far far away, when he reignites the Star Wars saga back to theaters.

Coonin Soon | ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” trailer

Ms. Shonda Rhimes will be three for three when her new legal thriller debuts as a part of ABC’s new season lineup. Critics and fans alike are buzzing as each station is rolling out their potential rating makers as the new TV season quickly approaches. Rhimes unleashes the Viola Davis-starring How to Get Away With Murder. Davis is a law professor who puts her pupils to the test to prove worthy of working for her firm. Exactly how far will they go to make the grade? The show stars some familiar faces including Harry Potter’s Alfie Enoch and OITNB’s Matt McGorry. Catch the trailer below.

Coonin’ Soon | GOTHAM

Fox seems to be joining the heroes band wagon with a prequel series highlighting a Batman-less Gotham. Following a young Jim Gordan, the series will explore the city and it’s criminal uprising as the deaths of the Wayne’s ricochet as war between good and evil. Southland’s Ben Mckenzie is Detective Gordan who’s first case is to find who left a young Bruce Wayne an orphan. Peep the trailer below.

With Marvel being the front-runner in the comic adaptation business, we will see how the DC universe counters. As of now its biggest success resides at The CW in Arrow, based off of the Green Arrow. The network hopes to bank on that success with a spin-off focusing on The Flash. DC also is in the works of finally launching a Justice League film to follow its epic Batman v Superman.