ATA #7: Nick Cannon Presents: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Negroes

WARNING: Across the Aisle features a weekly helping of extraordinary, yet exploratory, writing, gratuitous pop culture abuse, and complimentary Funyons. Due to our conscious decision to explore familiar themes in an inimitable, though inherently divisive, manner, such brilliance is solely intended for mature reading audiences. This is Hive Mind 101. That glorious moment when Wonder Twin powers activate. Jay Connor. Alex Hardy. The triumphant return of Voltron. These ain’t no studio tricks. Enjoy.

Episode 07

Nick Cannon Presents: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Negroes

Jay Connor: In 1964, pre-Jackée Harry, post-Uncle Remus, America had an epiphany. “Holy shit!” said America. “All this exploitation is exhausting, and this whole Tuskegee syphilis experiment is gonna make us look like some real assholes in those history books that will never see the light of day. Can’t we just hug it out, bro? We’ll even throw in some new water fountains!” And voilà! Congress spread its legs and an illegitimate, Civil Rights Act baby came out to play. Hell, Lyndon B. Johnson was even kind enough to clip the umbilical cord, because who didn’t enjoy group projects in high school? “Fuck yes!” said America, thrusting an exuberant fist into the atmosphere. “How come nobody told us racism was that easy to get rid of? You guys missed out on some great keggers in the 1700’s!” Then Reality strolled out the bathroom without washing its hands and plopped down onto the couch. Black people were still being harassed, discriminated against, and terrorized, while their White counterparts remained vigilant in their quest to remain off beat. “Okay, so maybe this whole desegregation thing isn’t as easy as we thought,” said America. “Fuck, should we just buy BET? Would that help? Macklemore is awesome!” Then Nick Cannon, the Fresh Prince of Post-Racial America, Mr. Mariah himself, ascended from the pages of Peggy McIntosh’s magnum opus with a glint in his eye and a severe dearth in redeeming value, and calmly asserted to his brighter brethren: “Come with me if you want to live.
Alex Hardy: ...and they followed him to a place where Flo Rida is godlike and Eminem’s music instability manifestos still inform and direct the privileged angst of underwhelming and scrappy gents unburdened by minisculities like rhythm and reality: Santa Barbara, California Florida. In 2014. And once there, this merry band of fist-pumping mistfits and Mileyites led by Sir Spousal Support commenced to laugh at the unfunny, clap and bop in opposition to and in spite of beats and take their shoes off in public places. Good times were had by all, but mostly by Sir Spousal Support, whose bank account continues to flourish unimaginably while we stand on the sideline, Black and Not Married to Mariah, roasting his flamboyant wackness.

JC: Blame Nickelodeon. Blame Harriet Beecher Stowe. Blame uncomfortably decorous enunciation. Blame Jenny McCarthy’s valiant crusade against child vaccinations. The levees of talent and tolerance have been breached, Western Civilization has been compromised, and Connor Smallnut reigns supreme with a blanched fist. But just how did Plymouth Rock land on us? Too many “Drumline” syndications? Is his ascension to entertainment ubiquity a byproduct of Tia and Tamera sending the wrong irritant on their merry way? How exactly does he keep happening?

AH: Blame White People and/or Mariah. It’s the same subset of humanity that ensures that Will.i.Am keeps showing up in my dumps after being shoved down my throat at social outings here in Panama. The very same scat-loving subhumans.

JC: No, no, no. His melanined co-conspirators must indulge in equivalent blame. After all, try as he may on his own, Cory Gunz’s career didn’t have the internal fortitude to kill itself. His humorless saboteur has mastered the art of cultural malleability. For every insipid spiel on “America’s Got Talent”, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And how many Kids Choice Awards does it take to defile Don Cornelius’ legacy? If all those binders full of women didn’t catapult Obama into office, San Diego’s finest just might be the preeminent King of Niggas. Thankfully, the United States government has a long, storied history of vanquishing tyrannical water cannon fodder, so He of Tacky Headphones will be a Black history project in no time.
AH: Nah. I’m not convinced that Mr. Carey is campaigning to earn the ire and bullets of the US government. Have you actually seen America’s Got Talent? Each week, Weird Allen Ja-Cornball Yankovic jokes, smiles, and has heart-to-hearts with old ladies, two-headed sword throwers who rap in Canadian, and drill teams from Baltimore. And he smiles a lot. It’s a fucking Feelingspocolypse. He’s IN. He comes in at about a 9.6 on the Wayne Brady Scale of Negroidian Nonthreateningness. He’s only kept from a perfect 10 because he raps rather than performing show tunes like Uncle Baby Hair. He poses as much threat to The Establishment as Mr. Perry to the dismantling of the the Horrible Movie Industrial Complex: zero.
JC: But how exactly has he managed to maintain his pigmented prominence salience relevance annoyance? His misfires far outweigh his triumphs, and yet he’s the unscathed roach who sips tea and nibbles on crumpets in the midst of a nuclear holocaust. How has this man managed to transform public displays of incompetence into such a lucrative venture? Who would’ve known sacrificing Christina Milian to the Illuminati would reap such rewards?

AH: Look. Nick is one of these people who does things you are familiar with, but didn't know he was involved. Cory Gunz. New Boyz. And did you know this man was the Chairman of Nick Jr?! All that unfettered access to defenseless children and their right to be taken seriously. Damn. As for his appeal? Look to the example of Flo Rida. He, like Nicolas Cannon, provides a suitable degree of Unintimidating Blackness to the masses. Raps and is therefore "cool." Has melanin and wins by default. The Office of Carey Husbandship has great perks.

So basically he’s like an artificial sweetener. A sapid, innocuous presence that purports to make the little things in life better, but impregnates you with cancer instead. Carrier of the same heebie jeebies frontin’ niggas gave Lauryn Hill.

AH: Any redeeming qualities that offset his flamboyant wackness? Does he get bonus points for making dem babies with Our Lady of Perpetual Teenagehood?

JC: You just can’t eclipse banality that efficacious, but nearly impeccable fashion sense aside, I have the utmost respect for him as a business entity. In a market saturated with mimicry, exploitation of stereotypical paradigms, and serial hashtag binges, he’s somehow developed a flourishing brand centered around a wholesome, harmless mirage. Additionally, he’s begot a treasure trove of lucrative opportunities for comedians, actors, twodels, and Internet personalities, which, in doing so, has transformed the art of “playing it forward” into a brilliant business model. Invest in fresh, up and coming talent, create a mutually beneficial platform for them to thrive in in a restricted Negroidian market, and in turn earn their allegiance until their relevance wanes. Case in point, how many household names have high-stepped out of the Wild ‘N Out combine? And once they’ve ditched the training wheels and made their own dent in the industry, they’ve always been more than happy to return the favor. Keenan did it with “In Living Color”, Russell forever changed the game with “Def Comedy Jam”, the criminally unheralded “Comic View” carried the torch for a minute, and then the great St. Nick studied the baton and ran with it. Basically, he’s Diddy minus the obnoxious gums and gaudy Kool-Aid pitchers. It’s the exact same infrastructure. He might give me hives, but his business acumen is rivaled only by his taste in women. Maybe one day he’ll even grasp this whole shutting the fuck up thing. What say you?

AH: Yeah. I do respect Mr. Carey’s hustle. When he’s not within sight of a recording studio, he’s makes some pretty major moves. Like crack rocks to our favorite rappers, he has paved the way for many comedians who are household names today. I get it. He’s likeable. He’s safe. I respect anyone who handles their business, gets paid handsomely and provides opportunities for their peers to thrive and fund addictions in any way that doesn’t involve signing to Bad Boy. I’m allowed to dig his intentions while abhorring his music output, yes? I think it was the late, great Elizabeth Taylor who said, “What the entire airborne fuck is this shit?” You know that feeling where you can’t stand to see someone embarrass themselves and feel compelled to both look away and continue watching report them to Homeland Security as Dick Lint? That’s what I experienced while watching his recent performance on Arsenio Hall’s painful Famous Friends And Old Guests Humor Me By Pretending to Remember Our Past Encounters Show. Ten seconds at a time. Watching. Pausing. Sobbing. Watching. Stabbing myself with lead pencils. Repeat. Am I supposed to feel an urge to vomit? Am I a bad person for at once pitying, reviling, and fearing him? Hell, a person who’ll leave dignity in a jar in his wife’s palatial shoe closet to push such a product with a smile is far more treacherous than the most daring Catfish. It’s probably best not to leave your neck or discarded jokes exposed.

JC: See, I think Mariah’s baby momma’s fatal flaw is that the same audacity and that has imbued him with the confidence to succeed, translates into a grotesquely unnatural desire to substantiate his status. He’s not satisfied being the obscenely rich Token Negro with both Black and White Hollywood at his disposal, he yearns to be just as adroit as his peers. Slight problem: he’s not. He’s the trust fund baby who buys an NBA team just so he can hurl air balls with elite athletes during warm ups. He’s the parent who embarrasses his daughter during sleepovers by spouting Justin Bieber lyrics from atop Mt. Coffee Table. He’s the pimp who can’t just wait in the car with a baseball bat while his “merchandise” rapes and pillages every hotel patron in sight, he has to drop his pants and auction off his own asshole too. So who needs drugs when we can Just Say No to Nick? How do you prevail when your coach wants to run the ball into the end zone himself?

AH: Wow. Totally forgot about those early videos. The early 2000s were such a tacky time for rappity rap dudes. And. So, White People Dance Music is now a whole different thing unrelated to Flo Rida’s catalog. What are we to do with this new album from He Who Allows Mariah To Believe That Life Is One Big Prom? Where do we, as a civilization that rewards pestilence and celebrates the hideous, go from here?

JC: I think checks and balances need to be put in place so that history will stop regurgitating on itself. We can’t all be Jay-Z. How soon we forget that capitalism is a requisite evil. Sure, some of us can stack our bread and get our Dame Dash petulance on. Some of us can even cherish the limelight and be J. Cole’s unibrow when we grow up. But gotdammit, dog shit doesn’t pick itself up, and that’s where the Memphis Bleeks, the D-12’s, and the women who kiss Flavor Flav in the mouth come in. You gotta respect your boundaries, play your position, and know your role. Men can’t give birth, Lil Terrio is impervious to fruits and vegetables, and Nick Cannon is terminally lame. It is what it is. We hold these truths to be self-evident and shit. But the million dollar question is, if he hit you with a business proposal that made many more dollars than sense, would you compromise those pesky morals of yours and fraternize with the enemy? Inquiring minds with baited breath wait anxiously to assail you with shade. 

AH: As long as footage of me getting my Mimi and Nikko on doesn’t hit these eStreets, I’ll sling these syllables and sentences for a Mariah-backed check in the blink of a Lumidee career. You bet your favorite damn Lugz boots I would. Would I prefer that my nieces listen to Nick Cannon over Yung Himbo? No. I trust their discernment and the trickle-down effect of my Unclehood. But he aight, I reckon. Just, not exactly my cup of sangria favorite celebriDarkie. Respectful indifference: You cool or whatever. Get your coins. But don’t rap at or make eye contact with me.

Read Episode 06: "Rituals of Tribal Dance"
Read Episode 02: "Posture and Promiscuity"

A million thanks to my partner in crime:

Jay Connor is a prized pupil of the esteemed Professor Xavier and a Los Angeles based freelance writer. When he’s not preoccupied with accruing overdraft fees while chasing the dream, he can be found disseminating terrorist threats on Twitter and Facebook. Direct all business inquiries, sexual innuendo and Nigerian email scams to

Follow me on Twitter: @chrisalexander_
LIKE me on Facebook: Colored Boy

Subscribe to Extra Colored, Alexander Hardy's personal newsletter, and receive updates and exclusive content via email.

powered by TinyLetter