I write about culture from a pro-Black perspective

Jay-Z on Gay Marriage

I just saw this on my Facebook timeline

There’s some talk online about Jay-Z’s endorsement being more powerful than Obama’s. I don’t really think that’s terribly useful. These are two of the most culturally important black men in the world.  I guess I’d like to think of their endorsements as a one-two punch, rather than quibble about who will make the most individual impact.

That said, I’m struck by the simplicity and the almost nonchalance of Jigga here. Even though I know that’s pretty much Shawn Carter’s demeanor whenever he talks.

Fuller thoughts to come…

Posted on May 15th, 2012 - Filed under Music,Politics,Sexuality
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The Incomparable Baratunde Thurston on Obama’s Release of His Birth Certificate

So many people I work with in D.C. weren't as upset by Barack Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate and the press conference about it as I was.  My twitter timeline was filled with "oooh, Barry delivers another smackdown." Liberal writers and bloggers all talked about the "political calculation" of it all.

That just wasn't what I was feeling. I was feeling this:


Posted on April 28th, 2011 - Filed under Obama,Politics
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What’s Wrong with Obama’s Speeches on Race

(cross posted at Forbes Avenue)

Well, first. There are so few.

No, seriously — let me start by saying that the fact that we have a president who talks about race seriously at all is a huge step in the right direction.

That said, I am frequently distressed by what the president actually says when he does speak about race. Because I think he is (perhaps unintentionally) intellectually dishonest about how race truly operates, what life is actually like as a Black person, and what it will take to really create equality of opportunity and an equitable division of resources (which are two very different things that require two separate, but specific, approaches).

Unlike most people, I thought the Philadelphia speech was terrible, ahistorical, and dangerous. I thought in his attempt to appeal to both White and Black, he made a crucial mistake that many people make when discussing race — equating Black and White feelings about, and experiences with, race symmetrically. Meaning White people’s resentment at Black progress was the same as Black frustration with being oppressed.

Simply – though both are legitimate, they are not equal.

To suggest, as he did, that they are, I think is dangerous. I think it contributes to a feeling of fatigue in America. Fatigue with remedies for past wrongs. Fatigue with talking about Black people when we can talk about White people. Fatigue fatigue fatigue.

This is perhaps unavoidable. He is a politician and there are many more White people than there are Black people. He must say what will allow him to stay in power and do what he wants to do to help everyone. I get that.

But because race operates the way it does, what any prominent Black person says carries enormous weight. In this case, what he’s saying is incredibly detrimental to a concerted, real fight to end racism (it’s great, if you’re goal is bettering race relations…but yea, that’s a different goal).

We’ve got to find language that talks honestly, directly, and passionately to the specific and unique experience of being Black in America without it being assumed that, by doing so, we ignore everyone else.

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Posted on July 20th, 2009 - Filed under Obama,Politics
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Barack on Hip-Hop

Cool video of Sway’s interview with Barack Obama. Here he talks about his feelings about hip-hop.

Come on, you know Barack’s greatest of all time is like Big Daddy Kane…


They got the same effortless cool, man. That unflappable quality that says “bring it!”

Posted on September 30th, 2008 - Filed under Current Affairs,Music,Obama,Politics
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Barack Obama has chosen Joss Stone to record the theme song for his campaign.

I can’t get with this choice, y’all.  I mean, as far as wack ass appropriation goes these days, Joss Stone is pretty harmless.

She’s serviceable.  Pleasant.

But clearly, not the real thing.

I don’t know what I expected.  Something a bit more soulful (and by that I do mean the real thing).  Something with more weight.  Something that might actually intimate how serious and earth-shattering Obama’s candidacy is.

Joss is…just a shade too trendy, too vanilla, too boring.

Obama has more flavor than this, people.  I know he does.

But then, I guess he can’t ask Luda.

I hereby register my dissent and put forth my own name:

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Posted on August 14th, 2008 - Filed under Culture,Current Affairs,Music,Obama,Politics
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