Thursday, March 26, 2015

watch this: Cecile Emike's "strolling" (ep. 11), featuring Kevin Morosky on Biggie, Black Santa, and more.

"Elizabeth Taylor...as Cleopatora. Are you mad? - Kevin Morosky

This is one of my favorite episodes from filmmaker Cecile Emeke's gorgeous web series Strolling, wherein she "[goes] on a stroll with people and talk about various issues affecting people." Simple enough, yeah? In short, Strolling features an array of chocolatey wonders, roaming the streets of London, opining and reflecting on the grand, complex, and minor, from homosexuality and reparations to weed, chicken shops, and male feminism. Fun for everyone.

This installment features brilliant commentary by British artist and fellow Deloris van Cartier enthusiast Kevin Morosky waxing majestically about life, Biggie, Black ass Santa, working as a "Black photographer," gaping holes in Christian fairy tales, and pride. Sixteen minutes well spent.


Check out the rest of Cecile's Strolling series, here

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

watch this: "Mr. Happy," starring Chance The Rapper

Painting by Kevin Spring

I woke up this morning to two emails and some Facebook mentions about Mr. Happy, a Colin Tilley-directed short that I apparently needed to see. The 23-minute film stars Chancellor Bennett (aka Chance The Rapper) as Victor, a depressed, desperate young man who, after a failed suicide attempt, is searching for a quick and tidy end to his daily pain.

Mr. Happy explores depression, suicide, euthanasia, and the horrors of coexisting with obnoxious druggy White coworkers hope and hopelessness. Tilley, most known for directing music videos by Chis Brown ("Strip"), Nicki Minaj ("Anaconda"), Rick Ross ("No Games") and others, describes Chance's character as "dark, broken, and extremely vulnerable." I don't know much about Mr. Tilley or Mr. Bennett, but the synopsis and promo photo (above) sold me. I can relate to Victor's sense of being tired of being sick and tired. I can relate to Victor's need for an alternative to this cruel life of sugar grits and obnoxious druggy White coworkers. I, too, have struggled with wanting to die, but not knowing HOW to go about it, with both minimal effort and pain. I say all of that to say: you should watch this. Bring on the aggressive emotioning.



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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dear Winter, Diabolical Be Thy Name.


Dear Winter, Diabolical Be Thy Name—

I write to you today with my legs wrapped around the heater. It's cold as Sisqo’s career out here, and I can't deal. Enough is enough.

Hallmark and Kmart would have us believe that the frigid months between December and February comprise the most wonderful time of year, but dammit I must disagree.

Like Eminem, you, Winter, have no redeeming qualities. There is nothing sexy about frozen whiteness falling from the sky. I do not believe in cold weather or snow, as a staff, record label, [or] as a motherfucking crew. Snow angels aren't adorable. Snowmen make me stabby and I believe to my soul that initiating snowball fights should be a capital offense.

While my friends have spent the Winter skeeting in jubilation about the endless opportunities for Instagram-ready layering and obnoxiously huge death-blocking Winter Coats, I spent the Winter bemoaning the necessity of all these fucking clothes, outrunning Ashiness, and fighting Evelyn Lozadingly to keep my precious, wilting melanin aglow.

You see, Winter, I am a Tropical Nigga. I like sunshine, tank tops, Beach Drinking, and pescado frito y patacones down pon la playa con mi gente. Ya tu sabes. But none of this happens during the Winter (on the East Coast). Living in Virginia, one cannot max, relax or chill pon la playa. Every day of my life since you descended from Autum’s bootyhole has been an endless fight to keep ashiness at bay. Since I left Panama’s beautifully relentless humidity, my skin shines a little less brightlikeadiamunn each day. I am not built for Winter. This is the worst of times.

And there is never enough lotion.

Last week, after I moisturized my entire situation with luscious cocoa butter, I went to Bâtard to connect with two gorgeous ladies and sip French 75s and inhale that red snapper and that fucking amazing cavatelli with braised oxtail and parmesan cheese (¡son!) and that brown butter ice cream while struggling to contain my enthusiasm about the food and not eat like a damn savage in public. ‘Twas a beautiful night.

But before I could do any of that, I had to thug my way through a demonic blitzkrieg of shrapnel, glass, and shards of broken Ashantidreams (aka “snow”) and trudge through that awful muddly slush in the streets, trying not to slip and die. That frozen rain was the stuff that night terrors are made of, Winter. Nothing but death (and impending buttsex) will stand between me and food, but I feel, as the descendent of enslaved persons, my life shouldn’t consist of soul-murking tragedies like hearing Pit Bull’s “music” in public and thugging one’s way through demonic blitzkriegs of shrapnel, glass, and shards of broken Ashantidreams. This is not my American Dream, Winter. When shall we overcome your terror? When do you vanish Remy Shandly? When does the madness end?

Who benefits from months of arctic terror? Why hasn’t Diddy found a way to make you go away, considering his virtuosity at making folk disappear? Did the then-teenaged Koch Brothers implement you in The Land Before Time to drive humans into Wilson’s Leather? What is your actual purpose?

I say all of that to say: You must be stopped.

I don’t know which rappity rappin’ ass rapper Aussie we need to sacrifice to get you the fuck off the premises forever, but I believe it’s time we get uncle Al to call a Loud Talking Negro Summit to help us find a solution. I just needed to express that I wish nothing but the harshest, most dry-dicked of times upon you, and all that you represent, forever, from the bottom of my heart.

I am awaiting the day when we rise up as a people to end your vicious reign. And before you scoff at my campaign to end you, know that if we can successfully keep Sarah Palin out of the control room and end Sorority Sisters, I know that sí, se puede end Winter. You just gotta die.

Bitch, I hate you,

Alexander Hardy,
Negro Extraordinaire

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Friday, March 6, 2015

hey, Therapy.


I shared this with the world for the first time on Wednesday at The Colored Boy and Friends at Bar None in New York. What a beautiful night.
------------------------------

hey, Therapy,

On our first date, I was a few weeks on the surviving end of a deleted suicide note. I was tentative, terrified, and zombie-like. To say that I wasn’t in a good place that chilly September morning when I first entered your warm embrace would be the understatement of the century. I was flat. Drowning in hopelessness. Hopscotching towards the end of the road yet always turning back when I got a glimpse of the wreckage I’d leave behind. I could only muster excitement for chicken, sleep, dick, and more sleep. I didn’t smile much in those days. I sighed a lot.

I had spent years pretending that I could work around, over, and under my issues on my own, while still powering through my day-to-day Fuckshit. Self-imposed pressure is a motherfucker. And I, naturally, invited and invested in that shit. I convinced myself that I had to be resilient, to keep going, I convinced myself that debilitating stress was a natural part of what it meant to be an adult. Stopping and breathing became impossible, because who else was going to do the work if not me? I struggled with delegation, because bringing someone else into my chaos felt counterproductive. And it almost killed me.

One day, while cleaning up my room, I felt it. In the back of my throat. That familiar pang of terror and bewilderment and grief and confusion that means that shit is not okay. I fought it off with deep breaths and minutes spent staring at the ceiling. It grew while folding jeans and arranging tank tops, but as I tried to force it back down, that pang in my throat became a chokehold. I set the broom and dustpan down. I rocked from side to side, gripping, twisting and flinging my hands. I fought those tears. I lost.

I was heavy. I felt directionless, for the first time ever. I felt unable to DO the way Alex DOES.

And then, I met you, Therapy.

The day I met you, in my eagerness, I uncorked and rambled for an hour, terrified and thrilled and proud to be in your presence. I admitted things I had never said to anyone. I verbalized things I had never verbalized to my self. After that first session, I texted my sisterfriend Leneé, “I did it,” and sobbed violently the whole ride home, beaming, relieved.

It hasn’t been easy, this dance we’re doing here on the 22nd of Laboriousness. You try me in ways that would spell banishment for any other thorn in my side, but you? You’re different. To be frank, you breakdance on my motherfucking nerves and stir up all kinds of unpretty memories. And yet, I moonwalk back to you week after week for more scab picking and another taste of delicious emotional freedom.

Each time I strip down and peel back the scumbagginess on that dangerously comfortable couch, I feel a few steps closer to Better Personhood, like the Fuckshit hasn’t all been for naught. I completely understand how people become hooked on you to cope with being hooked on self-destruction and other methods of advancing death, because you hurt so good. I get it. Dancing with you hasn’t been easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. But the high that greets me after busting these emotions open with my Nice White Lady each week makes it all worthwhile.

It is often said that needing you indicates weakness. Over here in reality, there would be fewer Joffrey Baratheons and Justin Beibers in the world if more of us realized how far from the truth that is. You demand the analysis and shedding of self-immolating behaviors and the challenging of one’s demons. To thrive, you require unflinching self-evaluation. Price of admission: an abandonment of habitual avoidance and unconvincing Alrightness. Anything less is a waste of time for all involved. You’re a bad motherfucker, Therapy. And ain’t nothing weak about fucking with you.

I fled Panama because shit got really real and I needed to come home to recharge and rest my head within two miles of those delicious, homophobic chicken biscuits. Things took a turn for the worse sometime in September, and I went into a cave to hibernate, fuck, journal vigorously, do the therapy thing, and love on Alex, and get to know you better.

My personal challenge in October was to simply Do. Something. Anything. To get out of bed and Do. Nothing lofty like Save the World or Build a Pyramid, but simple shit that I struggled with daily and had to write on a note card and check off because I couldn’t always do them on my own:

Brush your damn teeth

Wash your damn face

Leave the house during the daytime

Interact with your family

Do something active

Smile today

Some days I made it through the list. Other days? Well, I kept waking up each morning, so sometimes that was enough for me. And that was enough for you, too, Therapy.

Thanksgiving was ze lowpoint. I had just started taking Zoloft a few weeks prior, and was still in that harrowing Zombie Phase. I could have won free chicken for life and a weekend of cheese grits, heart-to-hearts and dance-offs with Janet Jackson and I would have replied, “Oh, cool.” The incessant jaw clenching and the suffocating anxiety prevented me from caring about the ribs or the greens or the rice or the macaroni and cheese or the jolly family members surrounding me at the dinner table. I sat there in Grandma’s dining room, surrounded by mi familia, blank. I ate quietly, eyes on my plate, uninterested in engaging in the cackling or the cake-eating or the storytelling, wishing I could teleport back to bed.

By December, with your help, doing became easier. I could become excited about things other than sleep, dick, and chicken without too much effort. The fog began to retreat. By February, I no longer had to act out emotions that I feel are expected during human interaction. My mind still attempts to fight 182 battles concurrently, but the zombiehood is subsiding. I feel like Alex again. I feel powerful and brilliant and ready to do the motherfucking work.

We’re still getting to know one another, and I already place thee among Waking Up From That Coma In 2005 in my Valley of Personal Victories. Knowing you has helped me stumble upon a metric fucktonne of beautiful and terrifying realizations about myself. I realized that I had been trying to rebuild, run, and change the world at once. Wearing eight hats, while carving out time for being a human being, was not possible. Wearing eight hats, while carving out time for being a human being, was not possible. Wearing eight hats, while carving out time for being a human being, was not possible. Wearing eight hats, while carving out time for being a human being, was not possible. Shit.


I expected myself to learn and perfect—as opposed to just executing—simultaneously, every time. It was an unreasonable, unhealthy amount of pressure to place on oneself. The lists that drove me to madness were a result of that pressure. These lists agitated my feelings of inadequacy. As I was never able to cross all 18 things from a list in a given day, I never felt good enough. You helped me realize that:

I wasn’t supposed to be able to do the 282 things I was attempting to do simultaneously in Panama, alone,

because

IT WASN’T HUMANLY POSSIBLE AND THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME A FAILURE.
SHIT.

I often felt like I quit Panama, like there was SO much I failed to do there. I can now confidently say that that is bullshit. (I slayed the scene in Panama, dammit.) Together, we’ve worked on my confidence, and I’ve progressed wonderfully in the ways I talk to and about myself. I’m using words like “career” when talking about myself, for the first time. The ideas floweth, and I’m no longer terrified by them. The bad days don’t outnumber the good ones so drastically anymore.

Finally, I’m doing, again.

Your gore and your glory have pushed me to greatness. You—one of the most necessary, most rewarding, most frightening things I have ever backflipped into—have improved my life immeasurably. I’ve learned that time does not heal all wounds. Mental disarray does not clear up on its own like a Bad Boy artist’s career left by the side of the road. You have to swan dive head-first into Your Bullshit. Open those closets, whip out the flashlight and go hunting for that WHY. With you, I’ve done that. The chaos and the madness are there but so, too, are the good things and the shiny new Happy Thoughts and I’m now thankful for all of it.

I believe to my soul that I wouldn’t be above ground, here to spill these words of praise before my homies and homettes had I never accepted you into my life. Had I never called Mom and Dad that sob-filled Panamanian afternoon, I would not have made it to Thirty.

It took me a while to admit that I needed you, but I'm so glad I came to my senses. On second thought, living is pretty awesome. And I’m elated to be alive, free to heel toe in the moonlight if it tickles my fancy as I fight to make it another day in these mean ass post-Lucy Pearl times we’re living in. You saved me. You saved me. You saved me. You saved me. You saved me. Thank almighty Saint Damita Jo Jackson for you.

-Alexander Hardy


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Selma and the Vigorous Rejection of Nonabysmal Personhood

The cast of Selma. Photo: The Telegraph

So. I finally saw Selma. I sat there in Cinema Café with my mother and that $839 popcorn and watched Martin and The Gang knuckle up with change history by helping those dusty ass, shitborne, unsavory, old timey White people get their motherfucking minds right.

Hella Patient Black Excellence in motion and such.

Madame Ava DuVernay’s masterful dramatization of the historic voting rights marches from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama organized and led by the Dallas County Voters League, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others was a joy to watch. Her portrayal of this pivotal moment in America’s history The Great Caucasian Reign of Terribleness captured the tense racial climate of pre-Janet Jackson America with a graciousness rarely deployed in the depictions of Black historical figures.

In this age of revisionist history and Butlers and Help, Black stories on the big screen not told with the help of a whip or a questionable cornrow wig are few and far between. I cherish any opportunity to see Us be fierce and unshakeable and imperfect and powerful. Go-Go Gadget: Humanity.

Madame DuVernay’s gorgeous film—a respectability junkie’s wet dream—is a Black Hollywood family reunion. A clown car of working, beautiful Black actors, if you will. This 127-minute journey into ancient TerribleWhitePeopleLand, America is jam-packed with magical melanin, legendary edge-ups, masterfully coifed Ebony Earth Goddesses and powerful lip liner aplenty. And Common.

I got to see Oprah whip out her famed fierce ass Pursed Lips of Tired Ass Black Elder’s Indignation as Annie Lee Cooper while contending with Mr. Fuckboy, uncle-daddy of Mr. Welfare, while attempting to register to vote.

You had Ledisi slinging hymns by phone in the heat of the night because it’s hard out here for a Revolutionary Negro, and sometimes you just need a quick conference call with Uncle Jesus before venturing out into the world to face Terrible Whiteness. You had Common in those overalls with that kufi looking like a good time on a Friday night as James Bevel. There was Carmen Ejogo who soared as Coretta Scott King, Our Lady of Boundless Imperturbability. You had Trai Byers, a brawny vision of love in scene after scene, wearing the hell out those polo shirts as SNCC executive secretary James Forman. Then there was Niecy Nash, one of my favorite LoudPeople and her wondrous deep wave situation as Richie Jean Jackson. And Wendell Pierce. And Tessa Thompson. And André Holland. And a slew of other chocolate wonders. 

Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King and Lorraine Toussaint as Amelia Boynton Robinson. Photo: Pittsburg Post Gazette


I kept saying to myself, "Shit! Look at all this good skin on screen in a No Madea Zone, for a change!”

It was a magnificent thing.

And then, a refreshing sight in the age of Mona Scott: two Black women (Lorraine Toussiant as Amelia Boynton Robinson and Ejogo’s Coretta) sharing a tender, shade-free moment, loving on and uplifting one another. (See, Mona, it IS possible.) As the two walked and talked before an important meeting with Malcolm X, Amelia shared a powerful word with a doubtful Coretta, telling her: “You are already prepared.” The night I saw Selma with my mom and niece, a group of church ladies behind us sang out: "Mmmmmhmm. Amen. Aaaaaaamen." 

I say all of that to say: I loved it.

I love that we got to see the fruit of a brilliant Black filmmaker’s tireless labor get the love it deserves. I love that Ava made plain a tenet of Terrible Whiteness that persists today: Placing the onus on Us to fix Their shit. Whew. Look at how They expect President Obama to make diamonds out of the steaming fuckshit They left behind. With Selma, Ava didn’t hold back. We got to see the Powers That Be as their morally bankrupt, rat bastardly selves.

When Ava stated that she didn't want to create another White Savior film, I rejoiced. We need more White Savior movies as much as we need more Ann Coulter sightings in the 2000 and the 15. Kanye puts in more than enough overtime deepthroating White supremacy on the daily, so I am thankful that Ava followed her heart, and put Black first.

I appreciate that Selma didn’t glamorize King’s doings and screwings by hopscotching over his shortcomings. Ava didn’t shy away from controversy, imagined puritanical legacies be damned. Yes, one can guide old timey White guys into the Land of Nonabysmal Personhood and share one’s Revolutionary Peen with the world. It is juvenile, laughable, and asinine to pretend that doing the former precludes one from doing the latter.

And, I appreciate Ava for not being as petty as I am and for resisting the urge to have Oprah hit one of those badge-wearing Oppression Operatives with a surly “All my life I had to fight,” even though there were multiple opportunities during interactions with aggressively terrible bipedal roaches to do so. 

Director Ava DuVernay and Selma star David Oyelowo. Photo: Variety.com
Frankly, Selma rubbed Benevolent Brock and Pestilent Patty the wrong way because it doesn’t suck any White dicks. President Lyndon B. Johnson isn’t the hero here, and seeing their skinfolk decentralized—portrayed as their frequently terrible selves—is unfathomable for countless moviegoers and Academy voters. Miss Anne MassaWife didn’t get to save the day with sweet tea and a kind, Christian heart. No downtrodden Black children were adopted and civilized by Nice White People. For many, Selma didn’t produce that necessary tingling in their bootyholes that they get when high on self-satisfaction. Martin didn’t lead protesters in a Debbie Allen-choreographed liturgical tap dance across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and that, too, was apparently unfathomable.

Never mind that Selma is a dramatization.

Naturally, David Oyelowo's performance as MLK didn't receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Madame Ava, while winning a slew of other awards for this wonderful work, didn't get the prestigious Oscar nomination for Best Director many feel she deserved. I'll let the brilliant Robert Jones, Jr. tell it:
And, quite frankly, history and experience have taught me to side-eye what any overwhelmingly white and male organization endorses. Because no matter how significant and progressive their choices seem on the surface, ultimately, those choices are self-serving. Between the Ku Klux Klan, the U.S. Congress, Wall Street, the Tea Party, and the Academy, social, legal, economic, political, and artistic standards in this country are set by white men for the benefit of white men—period.

Now that the consolatory award presenters of color have presented the awards, the thinkpieces have been thinkpieced and we’ve all tripped over ourselves trying to unpack the method to Massa’s madness, a few things must be stressed:

One. We must remember that 1965 wasn’t all that long ago. Many of these dumpster-hearted bastards are going to wake up tomorrow and stand in line behind you at Krispy Kreme when the Hot Light comes on. They praise Avatar for its excellence and plausibility (Gang of Whitepersons rescues a race of Bluefolk from extinction) and conjure, finance, and award ahistorical circle jerks like Cleopatra and The Help.

They have kids, nigger-loving granddaughters and defenseless half-black great-grandbabies.

The news reminds us daily that these cretins still run police departments, host Fux News shows, teach your kids, and live up the block from Aunt Shirley.

The scumbagginess persists. And it ain't going anywhere.

So, when Uncle Al Sharpton, the boredest Negro in America, gets to shouting at cameras and calling emergency Loud Talking Negro Summits to combat issues within the White community, I can’t help but regret not patenting those Logic Darts I once considered. That's like hiring me, HomoThug Número Uno, to wax poetically via essay on the joys of vaginal exploration. Where's the sense in that? 

Are we surprised when Suge Knight a serial killer kills? Would a dog’s barking mystify you? No. Because. It’s. What. They. Do.

As such, if a well dressed, married, employed Black President can’t inspire close-minded, shitborne political relics to retrieve their hearts and minds from their anal cavities and humanize their views of Blackness, and a Black woman serving as President of The Academy can’t inspire change, let’s cut back on the shock and awe when a gaggle of close-minded Hollywood relics fails to see Black Excellence when it stares kicks them in the face. Deal? Because it's what they do.

Two. We are over-thinking diversity and our approach to social justice in general. All this contorting and minimizing our natural splendor to assuage fears and remind empowered fuckboys how deserving of humanity we are? Exhausting and often fruitless. The issue isn’t that we’re not marching correctly or aren’t smart enough for a seat at the table. The issue isn’t your sagging pants or your “ethnic” name.

The issue, as with many of history’s great conflicts, is that a small, terrified group of White lifelong scoundrels simply refuses to get their motherfucking minds right. Slavery. Suffrage. The 2008 Bailout. Iggy Azalea. All byproducts of these scoundrels and their vigorous rejection of nonabysmal personhood. Dassit. Serena Williams penned a lovely essay detailing her growth and maturity after being humiliated and mistreated following her victory at Indian Wells. But what of Benevolent Brock and Pestilent Patty who booed her? We moan and march to "overcome," working ourselves to death for scraps of basic human decency when we are not the problem

But Oprah had a pretty stellar solution.

Three. These folks inhabit a world where expressions of Black or Brown pride equate to racial attacks and Jessica Alba can pass for a Hip Hop-dancing Hood Savior. The case for lunacy has long been made, y’all. Let go and let Iyanla fix it.

Four. With all of that said, if you can't recognize the collective geriatric White indifference (to this and other projects featuring Black faces telling nonslavey Black stories) as stage five Dick Melanin Envy, then I don’t know what to tell you.

-Alexander Hardy

Join me March 4 in New York City for Colored Boy and Friends.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Join me in March 4th in NYC for Colored Boy and Friends


As you may be aware, I have lived all over the place these past few years. I spent two years dancing in Los Angeles, ate my way around New Orleans, became the Czar of Panama, and I've missed New York City every step of the way. Two years have passed since I set foot in The Land of Cat-Rats. Enough is enough.

Though the phone, email, text, and butt-nekkid Skype sessions in the midnight hour make it easier to keep in touch while away from home, it's just not the same as stuffing your face and being drinky with someone. My writing career and network of eHomies both blossomed beautifully while I was living in Panama, and since arriving Stateside, I have been itching for some face-to-face time with those who I've connected with digitally over the past few years. So, I decided to gather all the coolest kids in the back room of a bar in NYC for a jolly time and such.

I want to meet you. I want to connect with readers, writers, friends, and colleagues. I want to shake hands, laugh, and sip (brown liquor?) with the many folks who've supported, encouraged, challenged, infuriated and inspired me for so long. Also, I feel it's important for me to have a space to share my work with a living, breathing, emoting audience and get me some of that human connection, yo. Infinitely better than contending with e-Rage via bitchass anonymous blog comments, yes?

I thought so, too.

Colored Boy and Friends will be an intimate, wankster-free experience. I will be reading and discussing a brand new essay (or two), answering some of the nosy, bold, wild, and freaky ass questions I've been receiving from readers and other internetpersons (here: Ask Me Stuff), and discussing literature, love, and life on stage with Darnell L. Moore​ (writer/co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire​), André D. Singleton​ (cultural curator and performance artist), and Shernita Anderson​ (host/personality/entertainer extraordinaire).

Special guests:
Shernita Anderson


André D Singleton



Darnell Moore

And I'm collaborating with master mixologist Blue Rivera​ of SO/YO CRAFT BAR​ on a dope drink menu. Woot. Woot.

I like having fun. You like having fun. Dammit, let's have some fun together. Merriment awaits. Join me.

Where: BAR NONE - 98 Third Ave, New York, NY 10003
When: Wednesday, March 4, 8PM
Suggested donation: FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS (but if the spirit moves you, don't stop there)

and

if you happen to have a radio show, podcast, classroom, workshop, panel, or dining room where you think I need to appear while in New York City during the first week of March, or if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, let me know: here.

I'll be around before the Colored Boy and Friends event for a happy hour meet & greet situation, from about 6:30-7:30 in the bar at Bar None. 

Hope to see you there, player!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

New Kendrick Lamar - "The Blacker The Berry"


"My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide
You hate me don't you?"

After winning two awards at last night's Mayonnaise Fest for last year's "i," Compton-bred wordsmith Kendrick Lamar has released "The Blacker The Berry" unto the world. I have nothing to add. Just listen.


After a second listen, I'm now three shades darker. And that's fine.

Get $30 towards your first Uber taxi ride with my promo code: ubercoloredboy.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

David Oyelowo: The Academy likes their Blacks subservient and dependent on nice White people.


Black strife is lucrative business. Just ask any old White record label executive, movie studio head, or sneaker store owner. On screen, in the eyes of the Powers That Be (Terrible), we are most valuable and palatable when downtrodden, despicable, and at the mercy of some all-knowing, benevolent White Knight who swoops in, Sandra Bullockly, to save the day by rescuing a poor Black beast from the throes of Blackness with boundless wisdom and Jesus-flavored good will. 

That sense of self-satisfaction experienced after watching a team of resourceful space-age Whitefolks save a race of Bluefolks from extinction? Necessary. That warm and fuzzy pre-ejaculatory euphoria felt while watching a brave Nice White lady venture over the river and through the hills into DA GHETTO to rescue a crew of emotionally stunted angry misfits from the brink of illiteracy, shanking and teen pregnancy? Necessary. It makes their booty holes pulsate with joy. It lubes and strokes their White Guilt. It helps them sleep at night. 

And, it's exhausting. As fuck.
Also from the White Savior Hall of Fame: Diff'rent Strokes.

So, it's fairly unsurprising that a flock of geriatric good ol' boys fails to get the brilliance of Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo, the director and star of Selma. I know that the sight of a powerful Black man who opted against bowing to and tap dancing for aggressively terrible old timey White dudes is alarming. Cries of "WHERE ARE SANDRA BULLOCK AND KEVIN COSTNER TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL?" rang out from hipsters and ahistoric supremacist sympathizers alike. Selma isn't a celebration of Whiteness. DuVernay was adamant about that. Here, Martin Luther King, Jr's story isn't told through the eyes of the nice, White (and courageous) White House receptionist who changed history by connecting MLK's calls to the President, adopting a family of Black sharecroppers, and inspiring Maulana Karenga to create Kwanzaa. Thankfully. This ain't that.

And all of is is apparently too much for The Academy of Motion Picture Whiteness to bear. 

While being interviewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Oyelowo kept it all the way real when asked for his feelings on being snubbed for his Selma role:

"Historically — this is truly my feeling; I felt this before the situation we're talking about and I feel it now — generally speaking, we, as black people, have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative."



FACTS.
He added:
"We have been slaves. We have been domestic servants. We have been criminals. We have been all of those things. But we've been leaders. We've been kings. We've been those who changed the world. And those films where that is the case are so hard to get made."
Because Black strife is lucrative and White guilt is inconvenient.

Spike Lee said it best, when offering advice to DuVernay after she was overlooked in the Best Director category: "Fuck 'em."

-alexander hardy

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Monday, January 26, 2015

written elsewhere: "Are Black Movie Soundtracks a Lost Art?" (Saint Heron)


In my latest piece for Saint Heron, Solange Knowles' music website, I discuss the increasing irrelevance of the movie soundtrack:

When was the last time a movie soundtrack made you feel something? When was the last time you sought out all of the music from a film driven by a desire to re-experience the narrative musically? If you, too, were born before Whitley and Kinu dropped Patti’s prune cobbler, it has probably been at least ten years. Maybe even fifteen.

The thrill is gone. Copping that movie-based compilation—and maybe even the poster—was once its own necessary event. Having the music that played alongside your favorite movie scene was vital, and the soundtrack was often just as good and as successful as any other album out at the time. The Soul Food soundtrack, with Boyz II Men, Total, and Outkast, spawned four singles and went double platinum in just a few months. It still stands as one of the best R&B compilations of the 90s.

In a broader musical sense, it is rare for contemporary artists to put forth songs that make you feel the way the Love Jones soundtrack made you feel in 1997. That project, a LaFace situation, was much more than a few big names and a handful of indiscriminately chosen table scraps, as is often the case today. That album was a cornucopia of greatness. Those were the days of real music making, not vapid trend chasing. As such, achieving that same near-perfection with a dozen artists so many years after the 99 and the 2000 is, sadly, a fantasy.

Read the rest over at Saint Heron.

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The Minnie Riperton Express BustDown Playlist




Every BustDown needs a soundtrack. Take it from me: Hanky Panky Enthusiast Número Uno. Sometimes, an "Oochie Wally"-led humptape suffices. Every session doesn't call for Marvin, Jodeci and Janet. Sometimes, the sound of skin slapping and bed creaking is enough.

But if something more sensual is needed to drown out the moans, I invite you to let Madame Minnie Riperton—underpraised goddess of funk, folk, R&B, and whatever the hell else she wanted—accompany you and your BustDown co-participant(s) the next time Dr. Knockboot clocks in to put in work. 

I make no assumptions on the duration of your sexytime endeavors. I don't know whether your pumps in the bump will last a hook or a fortnight. I don’t know your life. Either way, it is simply not possible to end every night with a glorious, sweaty threepeat during a marathon overnight scenario. Sometimes boots must be knocked expeditiously.


Enter: this express BustDown playlist. 40 Minutes. In and out. In my expert opinion, these songs provide some stellar mood music for le huff and puff. Try this out and report back.

(If Spotify doesn't work for you, the playlist can be played here, on Youtube.)

Now, before we begin, my only rule is that this isn’t for the lunch break herk and jerk in the back of the Ac'. At the very least, Minnie deserves a sturdy bed. And some sheets. Damn. Have some decorum.

También, as someone well versed in the art of the Hump and Dump, this set would be a bit too...romantic for a session of the Meet, Greet, Skeet, and Street variety. Discernment, saints.

FADE IN:
INT. SITE OF THE BUSTDOWN – NIGHT


Why not get the hanky panky started with a luscious Stevie Wonder joint that lends itself to sensual butt-nekkid two-stepping down by the fire? Undress and pet heavily to “Perfect Angel” as you silently rejoice that you opted for a light and unencumbering dinner. Ahem. This—not “Loving You”— is the best thing Minnie ever did. Sorry, Maya. Let this Steveland groove kick off your evening or hour of booty rubbin’ and good lovin’ with a touch of class before the boogie down. This, the warm and mushy before the wet and gushy, is for the preamble.

When I hear “Young, Willing, and Able,” I envision a young and aggressive Lady Eloise whipping this song out on her suitors in the late 70s before she put that work on ‘em. And you know she put that work on ‘em. This is the song she played as she lit candles in her boudoir and strategically arranged her collection of clamps, chains, and bootyhole expanders on a table beside the swing. 

Here, Minnie F Baby purrs about how her youthful exuberance renders her capable of rocking your whole entire world. You see, she’s “too hot to trot” and asks that you “think of [her] as peaches and cream.” Ow ow. Those lusty grunts at the end of the second verse will give you wings, my dude/dudette. This is for the finishing of blunts and the gathering of props and such. (Or so I’ve heard.)

Just as it appears perfectly sequenced on the album, “Every Time He Comes Around” comes next on this nut-seeking expedition. As the title suggests, Minnie gets hot, bothered, and lustified when her main squeeze comes within sniffing distance. ¡Qué pasión! Like Saint Damita Jo instructed that juicy-mouthed young man, use your imagination like you’ve never used it before. Dig deeper. Do it to it. In the butt, even.

By now, at the very least, pants are off.

INT. SITE OF THE BUSTDOWN – MIDDLE OF THE BED

A lighter clicks O.S. Nag champa up in the atmosphere. Hands explore, grip, and pull. Teeth. Fingers vanish and reappear. Minnie resumes singing, draped in a majestic white faux mink situation. Luxury, ho.


“Baby, This Love I Have” is self-explanatory. It opens calmly, innocently. And then that motherfucker blossoms. That hook? If that yearning in Minnie’s voice doesn’t guide your hips to greatness, I don’t know what to tell you. Perhaps the Beginner’s course down the hall may be more your speed. Otherwise, make the team proud.

“Here We Go” is a pretty direct song about drinking chilled Zimas and making sweet love pon the veranda. It’s big, swirly, and features a few passionate bars from an earnest Peabo Bryson, who is way serious about crossing this finish line together. Pro tip: Our Lady of Whistle Register Enunciation shows out at the end of the second verse. A surprise deep stroke opportunity arriveth.

Next up: Minnie’s “run up, get done up” moment. Done up, in the freaky sense, of course. Per the song’s composer and co-writer, Leon Ware, “Inside My Love” celebrates the union of the sexual and the spiritual. That sanctified slobdown and what not. With lyrics like “You can see inside me/You can come inside me/Do you wanna ride, inside my love?” you had better be putting that damn back into it. Ain’t no half-stepping. [Insert preferred higher power] is rooting for you.

Elsewhere in Minnie’s basket of furtive fuckjams is “Gettin’ Ready For Your Love.” On its surface, this joint is about her preparing to be with her cherie amour for better or worse, through both ashy and prosperous times, and bringing her A game to this love thang.

But from my pervert perspective, this makes a great soundtrack for the home stretch. This is for the buildup, when the light at the end of the tunnel is visible and all parties are preparing for their big finish and flawless dismount. Minnie sings of how all paths have lead to this day, and “gathering up everything I know to be true.” Pervert translation: “Yo soy pulling out all my tricks.” He (or she or they) is ready. The camera is ready. You is ready. A sexual eruption cometh. Pro tip: Don’t let the tempo throw you off. Focus, boo. Slow and steady wins the race.

“Can You Feel What I’m Saying?” is the high note and key change at the end of “Oh Happy Day” when things gets all rejoicey. Welcome to the wet spot. Catch your breath, dry off, and float back down to Earth with this angelic climax of a song. She gets quite spirited at the end of the song, just in case a passionate reprise feels right in the moment.

But if your BustDown situation is not a sleepover situation, it may be best to cap things off with something brisk yet inspirational. If the goal is to encourage urgency in your partners when it’s time to gather one's things and dále on out to the street, Minnie has you covered with “Take A Little Trip.” She sings, “Take a little trip on a maaaaagic carpet ride [over the river and through the hills, back to where the fuck you came from].” It’s perfect.

And a bonus, for ye breasted ones (or, you know…whomever): “I’m a Woman,” because Minnie sings, “I was born to make love.” Now that is a memoir title.

You're welcome.

What's on your sexytime playlist
   
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Friday, January 23, 2015

written elsewhere: "I Just Turned 30, And, Well, How Does 30 Work?"


"Forty-one days ago, I turned thirty. I didn’t make a big deal of it. ‘Twas a lovely day, though. I had a quiet, masterfully seasoned dinner with Mister Man. Got me some birthday sex. Bought myself a serious person’s winter coat (that I hardly wear). The sky didn’t crash on my head. I’m still not on AARP’s radar. Dick still works like it should. All good so far.

But now that I’m 60 in Gay Years, I figure there are certain things I reckon I should start thinking about. Investments. Polo shirts. Metabolism. Tube socks. Unfortunately, life can’t be all about sex and delicious homophobic chicken biscuits.

So, yes. It’s time for me to get some grown up savings. Yes, I should get me some stocks and perhaps some prune juice. I need to learn how to play dominoes and knit du-rags for my grandbabies. I need a respectable suit. By now, I should know how to sew on a button and eat pussy (in a parallel universe), but everything in time I suppose."

Read the rest over at Very Smart Brothas.

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