Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    In the midst of the Dreamgirls hype, drama and saga it can be easy to forget the several other talents in the Oscar winning film such as the singer turned actor Keith Robinson who played C.C., Effie White’s talented and visionary brother. Robinson was more than eye candy in the film (Lawd knows many of you were lusting!) by delivering a strong performance, which garnered him more rave reviews than Jamie Foxx’s performance. From his performance on the silver screen to even on stage at the Oscars, Keith Robinson is not to be ignored.

    Dreamgirls is available on DVD May 1st and while Jennifer Hudson is at center of the “dreams can come true” story, Robinson’s journey is nothing short of a “dreamboy”. Born and raised in the Deep South, Hollywood wasn’t even a dream that could be dreamed for the 27 year-old. In a story that comes right from a rags to riches Hollywood plotline, Robinson packed his bags and drove to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into the music industry. Unexpectedly, Robinson would land acting roles appearing in UPN shows and in FOX’s Power Rangers as Green Lightspeed Ranger. All the while working on his music he would continue on his grind, which would lead him to a role in the legendary Broadway musical turned movie Dreamgirls. Currently, Robinson’s musical career is coming to life with his first single “The One” available on
    iTunes. In this interview Robinson discusses how he landed the role of C.C. White, his journey to Hollywood and much more.

    This is a pretty big role for you—how did they find you for this?
    Yeah it’s huge. There were a lot of rumors about the project and I think originally Usher was supposed to play my role so after that it became available. I went through the audition process, which took about an agonizing four months but it worked out.

    Why agonizing?
    The wait—I went in July because I was doing another show called Over There. I went in and did the material for Bill and the producers and I had a whole season of Over There to shoot. If the second season got picked up I probably wouldn’t have been able to do the project—they were still going through the process of casting Effie. So, I was hearing rumors that I was up for it and there were other people up for it. I tried to block it out then somebody would remind me of it. As it got down to crunch time it was just really tough to wait. Not hearing anything would just kill you.

    Had you done any musicals before this?
    I hadn't done any musicals but I'm a singer. That’s actually why I moved out to Los Angeles because me and the fellows were in college; we got a deal for a second and the deal kind of fell through. So, we just loaded up the car and drove all the way to LA did the whole artist thing, lived in hotels and apartments and slept on couches trying to ship demos. In the process and about two months there I met somebody, went to an acting class just to kind of observe it because I heard they shot a lot of film and TV in LA. They didn't have enough readers so the teacher asked me to read and thought I was good. She called me back a few weeks later told me go read for this role, which was Power Rangers. At the time I was telemarketing and just hustling and I was like—cool! So, I ended up getting the role. After that I really began studying the craft while I was doing my music.

    How was the ambiance of the set? Having huge stars and on the other hand, having people who are just starting?
    You know what, it was surprisingly comfortable. I remember the first day going to work I was wondering like the diva-isms and the entourage that kind of go along with being around big stars—not only one but you got four or five at the same time. I think everybody was so excited about the project, the magnitude of it and everybody kind of had a common respect for each other's work that once everybody stepped on the mark that was out the door. I never really felt any type of hierarchy or any type of vibes or airs, which I think what makes this movie so special is you kind of see the energy, the camaraderie between the characters and between the people. That's how it was in between sets. We’d be singing, Jamie would be cracking jokes—it was a really good atmosphere.

    Had you heard of the musical beforehand or knew about it?
    The song I was most familiar with was of course “And I am Telling You”. Of course, I was a real short guy when it was on Broadway. [Laughs] So, basically that was the only song I was familiar with. For the most part, I hadn’t heard a lot of the material.

    The pacing of the movie is interesting. It's an unusual musical in that the musical theater element doesn't come into it until quite a ways into the film. What kind of coaching did they give you from it’s sort of a straight movie for awhile, then it becomes musical theater?
    I think that really boils down to the way the director edited it to have a certain pace that it wouldn’t become so kind of hunky-dory. Where if we're singing about sitting down or tying a shoe—he wanted to make sure the songs really made sense to the text. When it pertained to us as the artists he wanted to make sure we articulated the songs as if we were speaking them. A lot of times because we’re all artists we get into some riffs, some adlibs, some grunts and we had to pull that back and make sure we we’re communicating the song.

    Who were you most excited to work with?
    Probably Jamie…creatively I’ve kind of followed along the same path just in the fact that I'm a singer and actor also. He's the kind of artist that I look to for my generation. He shows you can excel exceptionally in more than one area—he's like a two sport athlete. I pride myself on being versatile and Jamie is an artist that I look to.

    What did you learn from working with him?
    The biggest thing I learned from him is in the midst of the chaos that goes along with stardom it's just to remain true to yourself. He was always very charismatic and open to share his journey with me on and off the camera. It seems like he's always been like that but we've only known each other for a little over a year with this project…it seems like that same positive energy that he has about just being an artist he probably had from day one. He hasn't lost that and that spoke the loudest to me.

    How was Eddie on the set? He doesn't talk to print anymore, so it's always a big mystery. Eddie, he's all business. This experience for me was all business. We talked a little bit but in between takes he was very focused. We might of had two conversations. One time we were at Frank Sinatra's house and I asked him how much this house might have cost back in the day. Just to kind of break the ice a little bit—for me it was this is a guy I've watched since I was very young. To get a chance to work with him…it was a little bit surreal in the beginning. He's a very cool guy, though. But, when Bill Condon said "action" he would morph into this character. He's amazing, you really see this as the legend, this is Eddie Murphy. You see why because he just explodes and you say cut and he's right back.

    When you watched the finished movie for the first time, what was your feeling?
    I felt really excited like I just got off the treadmill—like I was running. It just takes off from the beginning and all the way through. Aside from that for me watching my work it’s a very technical experience—you watch cuts, you watch edits, you watch how they get into different scenes. So, I try and shut that off. When I watch it with a huge audience who hasn't seen it before I think I can become more of a fan and sit back and enjoy the moment.

    What are you doing now?
    I'm working on my album right now. I’ve been gigging a little bit around New York and LA. I think this is a great vehicle to introduce myself as a musician because those that do know me, know me as just an actor, which is really my second love.

    Do you play an instrument?
    I play keys a little bit, but I'm basically a singer-songwriter. I have a band but it’s a basically my band that plays behind me.

    What kind of sound?
    Soul—soul, R&B. It's a fusion of classic soul and hip-hop.

    There are very few African-American movies, especially in the past couple years that have come out with that high of a budget, that much promotion—it’s big. This is your first film, where do you feel like you’ll go from here—this is really huge to top.
    Yeah, it's hard to top. I just want to dive into different characters that are going to allow me to really show a lot of different sides of myself. I think me being part of a huge project like this makes my desire to be more of a leading man. It makes me want to tell more stories that are just as pertinent and relevant to us.
    I think I kind of bridge the gap between that small-town kid, who thinks Hollywood and being a star is so far away. I was that same kid, I grew up in South Carolina, Georgia--TV and movies were not even tangible. So, I think I represent that guy who dreamed. It makes me want to reach back to a lot of young kids where I came from who might not even have cable and let them know that it's possible. If I can do it, you can.

    To learn more about Keith Robinson check him out at
    http://www.keithrobinsonofficial.com!

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 3 comments

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    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    Click on the audio below for my red carpet coverage of the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Monday night. The GLAAD Awards will air on LOGO Saturday, April 21st.

    You know I had to act up!

    Order of people:

    John Amaechi

    John Waters

    Jackie from Bravo's Work Out (see the ad to the right)

    Melrose from America's Next Top Model & Milan from Project Runway

    Hilary Duff

    Rosie O'Donnell

    Keith Boykin & Nathan Williams

    Patti LaBelle

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    Posted by Clay :: 12:57 AM :: 17 comments

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    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Cedric the Entertainer Interview: Hardest Working Man in Hollywood
    We’ve known Cedric the Entertainer since his days at Comic View, Def Comedy Jam and The Steve Harvey Show. Finally, Hollywood is starting to realize the gifted comedic talents and acting skills that Cedric truly has. Born Cedric Kyle, the St. Louis native was an insurance salesman before breaking into the raw world of comedy. It wasn’t until Steve Harvey discovered him that he finally made a name for himself, which lead to films like the unforgettable The Original Kings of Comedy and most recently, the seventy-million dollar box office hit, Barber Shop.

    Cedric is definitely one of the hardest working men in show business. In the month of April he has two DVDs hitting the shelves. Cedric offered his animated voice as Gully the Goose in the classic children’s story Charlotte’s Web, which hits stores on April 3rd. In addition, he stars in The Cleaner, alongside Lucy Liu and Nicollette Sheridan, which is available on DVD April 24th. In this interview Cedric dishes on upcoming projects, breaking into more dramatic roles, KKKramer and much more.

    What made you sign on to do Charlotte's Web?
    It's a classic for one and I’ve known the story for quite awhile. I didn't read it when I was younger, but I’ve read it to my kids and I got involved for that reason. One of the producers asked me to be involved with this—I thought it was a great story, great tale and something my kids will be able to identify with. I was able to throw my voice in there and then they told me I would be married to Oprah! I was like, okay bet—I’m down with that! I’m trying to work that angle as much as possible. I see Steadman and I’m like, man, whatever, I’m the real husband! [Laughs]

    Tell me about The Cleaner?
    It's fun—me, Lucy Liu, Nicollette Sheridan and I play Jake Rogers. It's a fun little take on the Bourne Identity movies. Basically I’m a janitor who works at a high tech company and I get mixed in something that’s legally going on in the company. I get hit across the head and believe that I am a government agent, spy kind of thing. We play with those themes—I don’t know who I am, but I thought I was a bad dude. Come to find out I’m just a janitor at the end of it -- so, it's fun!


    Anything else you recently shot?
    Talk to Me —that's an interesting film with Don Cheadle that should be out this summer. It's a biopic of Petey Green, real life deejay from the DC area during the ‘60s and the time of the Martin Luther King assignations. I play one of the radio deejays who are number one until this guy shows up. We have this kind of rivalry going, it's pretty cool.

    Do you see yourself doing a role that is no comedy, but completely drama?
    Yeah, I’m looking for that right role. I think that's important, especially as a comedian. I watch other great comedians that make those kind of switches be it Robin Williams, Adam Sandler's done it, Jim Carrey's done it, Jaime has flipped it in recent years. So, it's just really about just trying to find the right project that I think I’ll be able to pull it off and sink my teeth into. I'm interested in that for sure…

    What do you think it might be?
    I’ve been developing a story on Louis Armstrong for about a year—that's kind of interesting. We kind of found out none of the studios are really on the biopic thing right now, but it's still a good choice. Also, I have a very interesting developing story on Marcus Garvey, which was another role that I could probably develop and get into.

    Why aren’t the studios into biopics?
    It's very interesting… it was a big year for biopics a couple years ago. You think about Walk the Line and Ray so most of the studios are just saying they don’t really want to do that straight biopic. They want take it and do portions, or a different spin on it. There were a couple different scripts on Louis Armstrong, but I thought with this generation it would make sense to do a biopic. You have to be able to stay in his life because this new generation hears his voice be it commercials, ads, or different things. He’s got such a distinctive voice and characteristics, but I don’t think that this modern generation would really know who he was without giving the whole scope of the guy. So, that was my choice.

    What did you think of the whole Kramer situation?
    I think that at the core of it I was just disappointed in the fact that he kind of got trapped up there on the stage and didn’t have any comebacks for people. He chose to fall into what would be the lowest common denominator, which is trying to attack somebody on race. That's just whack! Even more so than that I was disappointed in the rage that he had— the fact that he was really mad about it. Even if you use the term it's one of those things like, okay, so you said it, but you said it with so much malicious intent. It’s the fact that he's using it all wrong. He uses the “N word” and obviously there's no real “N words” there because those are African-Americans—a nigga’ will whoop your ass! [Laughs] You lucky you were able to get out of that one that's all I say—you wanted somebody to just have a press conference!

    I don’t agree with this but I wanted to ask this question— some people have said, “Well, black comics say horrible things about white people like Eddie Murphy or The Original Kings of Comedy.” How do you feel about that?
    Again, I couldn’t say anything that was done with the degree of malice. You can talk about jokes that are different and the thing about comedians is that people have this leeway, or space to do that within their own ethnic groups. Then you have a little bit of room to go outside of that. You'll see Jewish comedians do a lot of Jewish jokes. Its okay and it can even be derogatory even at certain points, but because you have a membership card, so to speak, your able to kind of say this is my commentary on the matter. Now, if you grow up in New York then you live in a diverse society in these different boroughs and you grow up, you may even have the right to say something about another race. At least you feel you do and so people find it quite acceptable when you can say, well you can do a Jamaican joke, or you can do a Dominican joke in these kind of small subcultures based on their language, and people think, oh that's hilarious. All of a sudden when it comes on you it's a big deal, but I think that if it's done with intent to really hurt somebody—like you truly are trying to hurt this person's feelings and cut them down it's not at joke that point…you don’t even have a joke. You're being disrespectful and malice in your intent, now that's a violation. That's when the line has been crossed, and there should be a nice ass whooping following that! That should be in the manual—uh-oh I crossed the line here they come! There should’ve been somebody in the audience who just jumped up and said, “Stone him!” [Laughs] Just rocks flying at him that would’ve been fun!


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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 3 comments

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    I Know We Love Chris

    Chris Rock is the funniest man in America, the globe and the universe. His political commentary mixed with vicious comedy has given him a rightful spot with icons like Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison and other button-pushing comedians of yesteryear. Nearly every black person (and many whites) in America have a Chris Rock phrase as part of their daily repertoire. Whether it’s about Michael Jackson (Another kid? Another fuckin’ kid?), dating (you don’t meet them, you meet their representative!) or race (cracka ass cracka!)—Rock’s routine is part of the American lexicon.

    Rock’s new film, which he also directs, I Think I Love My Wife, is a step into another direction of his twenty-year career, which successfully includes stand-up, HBO talk show and the popular television series Everybody Hates Chris. In this interview an always animated Chris Rock discusses the new film, being edgy and married life--but still being candid about the divorce rumors that spawned in November. All of the things to let us know we are still in love with the smart-ass of comedy.

    When watching I Think I Love My Wife, you can't help but think this is your life--marriage and kids.
    Chris: It’s a lot of people's lives, it’s not like my special life. Yeah, I definitely relate to the character, I've been married 10 years, I have two kids, live in the suburbs, I commute to the city, all that stuff—it pretty much stops there.

    Are you bored?
    Chris: I'm an entertainer, I bore easy.

    How do you keep it fresh—what's the secret?
    Chris: You just go home. [Laughs]

    What is the sense of autobiography in the film? When you talk about the wandering eye—is there anything in particular to this story that you relate to as a married man?
    Chris: You know, I'm a guy, any guy—everybody sees attractive people. Gay, straight, whatever! You see attractive people every day. You notice them and you keep it moving. Is it autobiographical? No, but who knows later on. I don't think when Woody Allen did Manhattan he saw, you know, what history was going to present! [Laughs]

    The recent real-life parallels that were reported in November—has that smoothed over?
    Chris: Oh, it's nothing, it's all rumor…we know Britney cut her hair! [Laughs] But, it's a rumor that she's crazy. You cut your hair; you're not crazy, right? [Laughs]

    Is it possible when you're married to have female friends?
    Chris: I have a couple. I think it's impossible to have new female friends.

    How did casting the Nikki role come about?
    Chris: Yeah, we met a bunch of actresses, and I wanted to get somebody fresh. I think there’s certain people out there that soon as you see their name, or see their face, you assume a movie is going to be bad. So, I had to eliminate them—get them of the list. [Laughs] I worked with Kerry before in this movie Bad Company, but that was like another lifetime ago…it was like I worked with another girl. After I got rid of all the usual suspects I wanted the best actress. Kerry is the best actress, by far, and she's gorgeous. She’s sneaky fine! I’m friends with Michael Irving, the football player—I told him Kerry Washington is in the movie he said, “Oh she’s sneaky fine! Watching Ray for the fourth time I just realized how fine she was—just snuck up on me!”

    With the TV show and even this movie people are still saying you're still the funniest man in America, but your projects are more family-oriented and you’ve gotten softer over the years. What’s your response when people say you’ve toned down?
    Chris: I hope I get softer. [Laughs] Hey man, Prince is singing at the Superbowl! Hopefully you evolve, I can’t be the guy I was 20 years ago.

    You don't want to say that you’re edgy?
    Chris: I was only edgy compared to other things. I was always just me. What I did wasn't like I was ever sitting there—I'm going to be edgy! I was only edgy because you watched Paul Reiser before me or something. He's not, not edgy he's just Paul and I'm not edgy, I’m just Chris.

    You went to Africa recently— what did you like about it?
    Chris: Ummm…black people. [Laughs] I went with Oprah; I went to Oprah’s school over there that was kind of cool.

    What was that like?
    Chris: Ummm…it was a lot like this movie! [Laughs] No—it was incredible. Africa was incredible. It was spiritual, it was amazing. I've been to some of the slums in Africa, and these girls—Oprah literally created heaven on earth for them. She's not giving them an education—they took it. They all chose to have good grades and work hard, despite being in such a dead-end situation. Please, I grew up in America and by the fourth grade I had checked out of school. I was like what the fuck is this—this is a waste of time! [Laughs] Oprah should be commended but so should these girls.

    You really had some interesting racial moments in the film. What made you decide to put that in there, or is that the way the black family is at a dinner table talking about Michael Jackson?
    Chris: I don't know, I never even thought about it as racial…I just thought about capturing the sense of—every other movie I've ever done has been based in some fantasy world and this one's really grounded in reality. If we sat here long enough we would all eventually start talking about Michael Jackson—black or white, or whatever, he always comes up eventually. [Laughs]

    I saw the movie with some women and they were not laughing. They seemed to take offense to some of the characterizations in the film. Have you heard anything from female viewers?
    Chris: It's like my stand-up, you know, some jokes you love, some jokes are like--fuck him. I wanted that type of movie experience. I want people arguing when it's over— he should be with Nikki, no, he should be with the wife. That's what I was going for in this movie. There's things in it that didn't test well that I just kept in because I thought it was a better movie.

    What about the ending?
    Chris: The ending tested high.

    But that's not based in reality.
    Chris: Hey, I mean, I'm no Woody Allen, as we say on the east side of Manhattan. Annie Hall is based in reality. There's jokes and there's departures from the reality, but the movie is based in reality. There's departures here and there, but the story—everything that happens with the wife, everything that happens with Nikki.

    Will you ever have a chance to do the Oscar hosting again?
    Chris: I had fun doing the Oscars. I’d love to do it again; if they call, I’ll pick up the phone.

    How do you think Ellen did?
    Chris: I thought she did great—she should be the host every year.

    Where do you go from here?
    Chris: I don't know. Hopefully I can build on this. I don't want to go back.

    Do you want to be Chris Rock as an actor playing “real guys” not just the funny guy?
    Chris: Yeah, I think I’m funniest as a real guy. That's the discovery I made through this movie. I like playing a grown-up. I think most guys play guys that won't grow up. I think my comedy comes from being a grown-up.

    A few years ago when you were on Oprah, I think it was, you jokingly said, “My movies don't do well.” Were you thinking about that when you went in to do this movie?
    Chris: It's gotta cross your mind. But, it's weird, I didn’t think about it in the sense—it was kind of freeing in a sense. It wasn't even that my movies haven't done well. Some of them have done well, they were not artistically to the level of my stand-up, the TV show or the other shows, you know, like to the things I've done that were good. That's what I really meant. My stand-up, they're not movies, so there's no number in front of them. TV shows on the CW, they're considered success. Going into this movie I absolutely was not thinking about a box office number. I was just thinking about okay, how do I fit in? How do I make the movie that is perfect for me? When I watch something like Bad Santa or Borat—these guys have made movies that really fit their persona. It's like okay, the suit fits, I need a tailor-made Chris Rock movie.

    What are you going to do next?
    Chris: Okay, here's what I'm probably going to do if I can raise the money—I’m going to do a documentary on the Brooner Brothers hair show out of Atlanta, that's why I’m working on.

    It’s a huge event?
    Chris: It is bigger than the Super Bowl. It's nothing but hairdressers.

    It's very gay?
    Chris: It's really gay, but I'm not trying to make fun of anybody. It's black hairdressers so it's very entrepreneurial. There's something really interesting about those people, and it's a lot of Asian involvement too—all the products and who makes money off the stuff. Just the history of black hair, Madame CJ Walker, all the money that my people spend on their hair—people who make thirty grand a year, spending seven grand on their hair, it's just insane.

    Documentary not a comedy?
    Chris: There’ll be some humor in it, but absolutely will not make fun of anybody. If you watch all the old remotes I used to do on my show I could be talking to a guy with a bone in his nose, literally, in and never mention it—I do not make fun of people. It’s a saying we used to have on the show--make fun of what people do, not what they are.

    Would you go back to stand-up?
    Chris: I want to go back, hopefully in September. Hopefully—I won’t put dates out; never put your dates out till you got your act.

    You want to be Chris Rock as an actor playing “real guys” not just funny guys?
    Chris: Yeah, I think I’m funniest as a real guy. That's the discovery I made through this movie. I like playing a grown-up. I think most guys play guys that won't grow up. I think my comedy comes from being a grown-up.

    I Think I Love My Wife is in theatres now.



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    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 3 comments

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    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Kerry Washington Interview
    Click on the link below for my interview Kerry Washington with Men's Fitness for the new Chris Rock film I Think I Love My Wife.

    I Think We Love Kerry

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    Posted by Clay :: 6:00 PM :: 2 comments

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    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    I think I still love Chris Rock. I stress—I think. The moment I heard I Think I Love My Life was written and directed by comic icon Chris Rock I said—oh Lawd…Rock’s stand-up comedy is absolutely flawless, but he is one of the few comedians who is legendary for stand-up and has never been able to transition to film. We all remember debacles like Bad Company and Head of State—Chris has even said , “My movies don’t do well!” However, Chris knows his strong points like talk shows (The Chris Rock Show), HBO specials (Bigger & Blacker, Never Scared) and even television (Everybody Hates Chris). Chris Rock is the funniest man in America—in my opinion he easily eclipses the geniuses before him like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.

    I Think I Love My Wife is the story of a sexually frustrated and amazingly bored husband, Richard Cooper (Chris Rock). He is exhausted by the monotony of married life—kids, work, therapy, predictable conversations and the everyday redundancy of his nine to five job. His wife, Brenda (Gina Torres: Alias, The Shield), is content in their bland as tap water world and doesn’t mind the lack of sex or intimacy. Along comes Nikki Tru played by Kerry Washington who is Richard’s ex-girlfriend that he is still infatuated with. She wears sexy panties, has a long weave, bosoms are exploding out of her Carrie Bradshaw-ish unrealistic outfits, her face is beat so viciously with make-up that she looks like a 3 a.m. drag queen at Esculetiabasically every straight man’s dream and none of the women who exist in New York City. Kerry Washington looked absolutely stunning in The Last King of Scotland when she wasn't suppose to be "sexy"--in this film she resembled a character from Booty Call or The Player's Club.

    Predictable chaos ensues when Nikki Tru (that name really wears me out!) comes back in Richard’s life—guess the rest…Nikki and Richard have mishaps, Richard puts his family at risk and some of the most unrealistic scenarios occur that even a camp-fest John Waters film couldn’t pull off. For example, the movie reaches asinine heights of foolishness with Richard taking a daytrip, which is a flight to D.C., to help Nikki Tru move out of her boyfriend’s house. Rock gets bashed and attacked yet still wants to be with Nikki Tru. Let’s not forget the last scene where Rock and his wife breakout into song, singing a remixed version of Rick James and Teena Marie “Fire & Desire” with them wailing, “Why don’t we fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck anymore?It was even worse than the movie version of Rent singing, “My TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT-cell count is low!”

    Even though this is a comedy there should be some emotional investment in the characters. However, I was more interested in how Washington’s makeup job was so poorly done that her pores resembled potholes on the streets of North Philadelphia (I must add when I interviewed Washington in person she was as fine as the great gimson weed blowing in an 1822 North Carolina musty wind!). Washington is the stereotypical over-thirty whore who is attempting to break-up marriages while Rock is the bland corporate fool who falls for the temptress. Their relationship was the most uninteresting part of the film, but yet the main plotline.

    As I was watching the movie, I said to myself—now what is making me sit here and venture through the entire 94 minutes? Maybe it’s Rock’s directing? No! Rock’s attempt at directing was as off-balanced as Heather Mills McCartney up and coming stint on Dancing with the Stars. The film moved forward like it was walking on one leg, bobbling back and forth between foolishness and extra foolishness, never seeming to take off. I Think I Love My Wife has about as much plot and substance as a Jennifer Lopez marriage.

    With all that said if you are looking to see thought-provoking commentary on marriage then this is not your movie. However, if you are looking to have a senseless laugh at portions of the movie that would’ve worked even better in Rock’s stand-up then by all means by an advanced ticket!

    Rock is still hilarious! His jokes on race, what all black folks eventually talk about, using the word “nigga”, hip-hop, being in the club, sexuality and so much more—are excellent. Rock has a way of capturing the everyday conversations of people, causing you to see reflections of yourself and your own circle. I was laughing out loud with the rest of the audience, but we all fell into simultaneous android mode when the filmed tried to have a plot. Nonetheless, the movie is still funny and loads better than Rock’s other catastrophes.

    Lower your expectations to Tyler Perry low and you will have a great time watching I Think I Love My Wife, but you could quite easily wait till it comes out on DVD and borrow it from a friend.

    Because I laughed so hard I give it a solid 3/5.

    I think I still love Chris Rock.
    I Think I Love My Wife opens in theatres nationwide tomorrow, March 16th.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 17 comments

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    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    John Amaechi Interview on Vibe.com
    Check out my interview with John Amaechi on Vibe.com! Also, be on the look out for another interview with John Amaechi (much more gay oriented) in CLIK Magazine for the April issue.


    Pasted below is a fun excerpt from the interview that didn't make the cut. It's my little version of Inside the Actor's Studio and John got me right together on Jennifer Hudson!

    Clay: Janet or Madonna?
    John: Ohhh…I've gotta go Madonna.

    Clay: Prince or Michael Jackson?
    John: Prince.

    Clay: Jennifer Hudson or Jennifer Holliday?
    John: Now let me get this right--Jennifer Hudson is the one that won the Oscar?

    Clay: Exactly, and Jennifer Holliday was the original Effie White from Dreamgirls.
    John: No, no, no--not even close. She's bitter.

    Clay: She's bitter? [Laughs] You don't like Jennifer Holliday?
    John: Did you see the interviews she's been doing?

    Clay: I know, but—I'm revoking your gay card if you don't like Jennifer Holliday!
    John: [Laughs] It's not a question of liking her. Somebody from England is going to come along and eclipse anything I've ever achieved in terms of basketball. When that happens I'm going to sit, waving a flag on their bandwagon saying how great it is that someone finally has come along and done this. That's what you do, that's what makes you graceful—Jennifer Holliday just seems to have this kind of bitterness about her that Jennifer Hudson came along and eclipsed.

    Clay: I hear you. What turns you on?
    John: Aspirational, independence, focused, charitable, and I'd be lying if I didn't say attractive—HOT!

    Clay: What turns you off?
    John: Egomaniacal and anybody who doesn't like children.

    John: What's in your Ipod?
    Clay: Put it this way on this trip I have four IPods--I have over 4,000 CDs. I couldn't tell you, but nearly everything you could possibly imagine.

    Clay: What's your favorite curse word?
    [Laughs] Bloody.

    Clay: Bloody? That’s a curse word?
    John: You can use bloody before anything and it becomes a curse word.

    Clay: Do you curse though?
    John: Oh yeah!
    *****
    For all of my New Yorkers John's booking signing is today at Barnes and Noble. Here are the details:

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 @ 7 PM
    Barnes & Noble Booksellers
    Astor Place
    4 Astor Place
    New York City

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 8 comments

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    Friday, March 09, 2007


    For those who think I am a snob when it comes to music or film—you should see me with literature. Having been a student of African-American Studies for four years and read nearly every book in the African-American canon, I am a complete literature snob. Therefore, when I picked up John Amaechi’s Man in the Middle I was unsure what to expect. I haven’t read a book since I graduated from Rutgers University in July and I have just as much interest in basketball as I do the female orgasm. So, when I cracked open Man in the Middle I pulled out my Rutgers highlighter that has been unused for eight months and I balled up in the corner of my couch—hoping I would make it through the first chapter. I finished the first half of the book in less than a day. I completed the book the next day. There wasn’t a moment of Amaechi’s travels that wasn’t engrossing or sincere—and you know you can trust Clay Cane.

    Man in the Middle by John Amaechi with Chris Bull follows the journey of the first Brit NBA player from his days as an overweight child, NBA glamour, his hidden sexuality and so much more. Amaechi offers a reflective, well-written, at times comical memoir of a chunky boy who once wanted to be invisible to a well-developed man who transcends striking hardships to live a dream he never dreamed.

    It was fascinating to read of the awkward young black boy who had body image issues that many of us think are reserved for white girls in Beverly Hills. Amaechi was a giant compared to the skinny, white English folks in his school and was viciously coined a “whale”. His struggle with weight even reached the NBA with his critics saying, “He’s too fat for basketball”—if you think Janice Dickinson and Simon Cowell are critics, try listening to one minute of those sports commentators—they go off! Nonetheless, Amaechi was resilient and through “The Plan” (penned way before Oprah broke “The Secret” to the world!) he remained powerfully focused even with loneliness and the hush of his sexuality.

    Sexuality is not the main focus of Amaechi’s story, but it is not avoided. Amaechi reveals to the reader a young boy grappling with his sexuality, but not an outwardly gay child. This is an interesting point that many gay people forget in the spectrum of sexuality. Not all of us are bashed in school, but still endure the emotional repression. There is something to be said for the young boy who is not called a faggot everyday in the hallways, but is still gay, isolated and wrestling with the same issues.

    Amaechi and Bull manage to smooth over his sexuality so evenly that it feels normalized in a world where it is abnormal. For the reader who may not understand homosexuality, or afraid of gay men, Man in the Middle is a flawless read because it allows them to experience this repression he endured, but every page is not filled with salacious sexual escapades—not that there is anything wrong with that. In addition, it doesn’t seem as if Amaechi is trying to not go into depth about his sexuality, it is that for a long time he wasn’t acknowledging it—an experience many gay men, especially black or Latino, can relate to—don’t you just love when Oprah cries, “How could you not know?”, but I digress…I would feel comfortable giving this book to my father who has told me countless times he doesn’t understand “it”. My own father would learn so much from Man in the Middle and the truth would not be sugarcoated.

    The major storyline is Amaechi’s journey in the NBA. He ushers the reader through ups and downs, competition, despicable coaches, crazed fans, the “kick them when their down” philosophy, contractual betrayal, broken promises and so much more. After reading Man in the Middle I have a whole new respect for basketball.

    Amaechi’s entrance in the NBA is also marked with poignant commentary on “hoop dreams” that he was able to see more clearly even as a teen because he was not socialized in America (basketball in England isn’t nearly as popular). Often times his commentary reminded me of an episode of Bill Maher, which is always a plus.

    “If you really want to screw a bunch of poor black kids, tell them to focus on basketball when only one in a thousand will even make it to the college level, let alone secure a scholarship. It’s a great way to make sure there’ll be plenty of street cleaners and burger flippers. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of honest work, except the low income and lack of benefits. But when dead-end jobs become destiny, that’s when hope departs and despair takes root.”

    That needs to be added to the pledge of allegiance to every inner-city school in the United States!

    The political commentary on race, sexuality, child advocacy and even gun control are impeccable and refreshing, especially when most basketball players are as plastic and non-political as Supermodels—with the exception of the icon, Charles Barkley!

    Amaechi’s journey to being the first British NBA player (to my knowledge there hasn’t been one to date—don’t quote me on that) was not paved in Americana gold. He confesses to not having the “natural talent” as his fellow players (amazingly honest to admit), depression due to his mother’s battle with cancer and the looming presence of his sexuality. Throughout most of the book I wondered to myself…does he have any self-hate? Is it religion? Amaechi answers that question by giving a moving analysis that encompasses many once-closeted or now closeted men. It had nothing to do with hating himself or religion.

    “I never hated myself; my desire for other men felt as natural as my right-handedness. It was simply incompatible with how I’d defined myself at the time, with whom I’d become on campus…I repeated to myself over and over, I can’t be the basketball player and this man who likes other men in this way. I can’t be this man I am.”

    This is what so many R&B/hip-hop artists, actors in Hollywood, doctors or teachers feel about their sexuality. I have never read it put in a way that was void of DL Christian issues or self-hate—it was nothing short excellent.

    Amaechi’s story is a story that has not been told. Only five other sports stars have come out and a few have wrote books. Amaechi’s journey is strikingly original with him being British, black (with a white parent) and in the NBA—basketball is arguably the most popular sport in America. He is the first NBA player to come out and his commentary on why homosexuality is a threat to the NBA is a slam dunk.

    “The pro locker room was the most flamboyant place I’d ever been. The guys flaunted their perfect bodies. They bragged of their sexual exploits. They checked out each other’s cocks. One painted his toenails with seasonal colours, green for Christmas, red for Valentine’s Day, orange for Halloween. It was an intense kind of camaraderie that to them felt completely natural, but was a little too close for my comfort. As I surveyed the room, I couldn’t help chuckling to myself: And I’m the gay one.” Amaechi adds, “Coming out threatens to expose the homoerotic components of what they prefer to think of as simply male bonding.”

    Only about thirty out of three hundred pages discuss being a gay man, which has garnered some criticism from the gay community. However, after and while reading the book I realized this story is not about a black gay Englishman—it is about John Amaechi who is so much more than socially constructed Western labels. Amaechi’s story of being more than these labels mirror what I hear nearly every gay man argue, especially black or Latino, “I’m more than gay!” Hopefully, a few of the straights will finally get it after reading this book!

    Honestly, I don’t know if I could’ve gotten through a book that was 300 pages about being a gay basketball player—or even 200 pages! That would feel more contrived. That would feel more about money (another piece of criticism he has gotten). That wouldn’t feel realistic. Many people who are criticizing Amaechi, straight and gay, haven’t even read the book.

    Amaechi should be applauded for his efforts and successfully writing an autobiography that will be considered a legendary moment in the NBA. Man in the Middle gives the reader a well-rounded description of his story and the universal experience of transcending the unexpected, battling adversity and coming out on the other end…being able to recognize his “soul in the dark”.

    To learn more about John Amaechi check out
    http://www.meech.org/!

    Also, if you would like to purchase Man in the Middle click on the image in the right hand column.

    For my New Yorkers—all that strapping 6’9 and 270 lbs. (Sweet Jesus!) of a man is coming to our city next week! Pasted below is the information:

    John Amaechi Book Signing

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 @ 7 PM
    Barnes & Noble Booksellers
    Astor Place
    4 Astor Place
    New York City, New York
    212.420.0816

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 10 comments

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