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 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 and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at

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    Friday, June 27, 2008

    This weekend is gay pride in New York City. I know many people, straight or gay, look at the gay movement as an ultra-white movement. Also, some think this discussion of a specific black gay community is a new phenomenon with the media hype over "down low" men and HIV/AIDS incident rates increasing in the black community.

    So, I always thought this letter from the legendary Huey Newton, the icon of one of the most powerful black movement groups of the 20th Century, The Black Panthers, back in August of 1970 was fascinating.

    Newton gives some amazing critique on homophobia and sexism. These pseudo hip-hop intellectuals or Christ-saving preachers need to take a page from Mr. Newton.

    A Letter from Huey Newton to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters about the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements

    During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

    Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say "whatever your insecurities are" because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

    We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you're some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

    Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women's right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.

    And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it's a phenomenon that I don't understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don't know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

    That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn't view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I'm now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that "even a homosexual can be a revolutionary." Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

    When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women's liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because they are not.

    We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action. If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women's liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.

    We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say "insecurities," I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

    We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms "faggot" and "punk" should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

    We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and women's liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the most appropriate manner.

    Huey Newton was shot and killed in 1989 over an alleged drug deal. He was 47 years-old.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 8:57 AM :: 11 comments


    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    I'll be interviewing Robin Thicke later today for his new album Something Else, which is in stores September 9th. His new single "Magic" is hot! "I can make the pain disappear, I can erase the past... "

    Robin Thicke is the first white male artist to have a #1 on the Billboard R&B charts since George Michael in 1988 and probably the first white artist who has been embraced so aggressively by urban audiences since Teena Marie (maybe Jon B. ).

    Submit your questions in the comments.

    Check out "Magic"...

    Update: The interview was rescheduled for today, Friday, June 26th. You have till 5pm EST today to submit your questions.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:26 AM :: 21 comments


    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Check out my interview with Anthony David, India.Arie's protege, on If you are not familiar with the soul man, he released two independent albums, 3 Chords & the Truth in 2004 and The Red Clay Chronicles in 2006. Now, he is back with Acey Duecy, his first major release, which is in stores today.

    In the interview, Anthony David chops up mainstream R&B saying, "I don’t really respect their talent." He also rants on singers who tell artists to put their hands in the air like Mary J. Blige, "'Be Without You.' She was like, 'Put your hands up!' I was like, What?" He was a cackle!

    Anthony David: Not Your Average Boy

    Oh, don't forget, the BET Awards are tonight at 8pm... I'm going to think positive thoughts. D.L. Hughley is hosting and he is one shady bastard!


    Posted by Clay :: 9:51 AM :: 4 comments


    Monday, June 23, 2008

    All over the country students are graduating. Graduating from college, graduating from high school... and a type of graduation that always confused me—8th grade graduation. I never understood the concept, especially when I noticed 8th grade graduations normally happen at urban schools, or more specifically, black schools.

    I attended black and white public schools but it wasn't till the ninth grade that a friend told me, "I cried so hard at 8th grade graduation!" I had attended a white public middle school.

    "You had a graduation for the 8th grade?" I asked, thinking 8th grade is just like going from any other grade to another. Why a graduation?

    "Yeah, we had a cap and gown and everything. I'm glad we had an 8th grade graduation because I know a lot of people won’t make it through high school." Ironically, my friend was one of those people who didn’t go past the tenth grade. To this day he will say, “Well, I did graduate from the 8th grade.”

    There is nothing wrong with celebrating someone completing a school year, but a full graduation ceremony from the 8th grade, for a time period where your grades don't even count for college, is bizarre to me. I only know of urban schools that have this 8th grade graduation. Not saying no suburban schools on the planet do this, but it’s mainly an urban/black phenomenon. I called many friends who went to suburban middle schools and they said they never had a graduation ceremony for the 8th grade.

    Does this pseudo graduation give people a sense that if you don't make it to high school “at least” you graduated from the 8th grade? One of my dear friends who had an eighth grade graduation told me, “My parents made it clear that high school graduation was the real graduation so the idea of dropping out was actually a foreign concept to me. It wasn't until I had friends and cousins not make it through high school that I started to re-evaluate that idea of 8th grade graduations.”

    I believe 8th grade graduations assist in mediocrity and lowering the expectations that many feel plague our community. Also, it signals that the administration has lowered its expectations, “Well, they might not make it to the 12th grade so let's do it early!"

    Is giving a child credit for a requirement really inspiring youth to make it to their high school graduation? Like Chris Rock said, "Niggas always want some credit for what they supposed to do. A nigga will brag up some shit a normal man doesn't, 'I take care of my kids!' You supposed to you dumb m*th*rf*ck*r! 'I ain't ever been to jail!' What you want a cookie?" That’s how I feel about 8th grade graduation… why give someone a cookie for what they should be doing when the journey is far from over?

    I am not arguing that an 8th grade graduations is the sole reason why the high school drop-out rates are astronomical for blacks/Latins in urban schools. Nonetheless, it’s still a concept that has always confused me and I’ve never seen any discussions on it.

    For anyone who has a sister, brother, child, niece, nephew, cousin, etc. who is exiting the 8th grade—can you let them know 8th grade isn’t different than any other grade. Get your ass through high school and go to a real graduation! If you want to inspire the kids to graduate, hell, skip their 8th grade graduation and have them attend a college graduation in your local town!

    Check out the clip from Chris Rock, his rant starts at 2:30.


    Posted by Clay :: 9:43 AM :: 21 comments


    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Lawd knows I am working hard for the money. In this week's issue of HX Magazine, which is their LGBT pride issue, I have two interviews: Donna Summer and Ashanti. The mag also includes a great interview with George Michael.

    Thanks to everyone who submitted their questions, I only had a limited amount of time with the disco diva but I was able to get in some of your questions.

    Donna talks about her new album Crayons, being a Christian with her gay following, and when I asked her about about gay marriage she answered, "I don’t really have an opinion on it." Click below for the full story.

    Donna Summer: The Queen is Back

    Also, I know some Donna Summer fans emailed me from her web site asking about her unreleased material. The question didn't make the interview, but here it is:

    Are there any plans to release your unreleased material on iTunes or a box set?
    Donna Summer
    : My husband and I have talked about that, I would love to do it—love, love, love to do that. There's so many other songs that haven’t been released that the fans don't even know about that have been sitting there in my vault forever, some really good songs as well. Hopefully, now with iTunes we'll be able to put them out. As soon as my record deal has ended because I can't do it without permission from the record company—as soon as that has come to conclusion, I will at least be able to pop everything on there and make another deal.

    Here is my last interview with Ashanti for HX, which you can pick up anywhere in Manhattan.

    Originally published in HX.


    Ashanti declares appreciation for her beloved gay crew

    by Clay Cane

    Though not a track on The Declaration, her first studio album in four years, Ashanti’s “Diva” is turning out the Internet. The campy runway track (which dramatically opens with Ashanti declaring, “Don’t come for me between two and three because I’m in the beauty shop—bitch!”) shouts out her favorite queens, including RuPaul, Elton John and even Perez Hilton, making it possibly the first song a prominent R&B artist has recorded strictly for the children. So we asked the 27-year-old diva to sound off on her gay circle, hip-hop homophobia and her biggest rival, Miss Beyoncé.

    Clay Cane for HX: In terms of music, where have you been these last four years?
    Ashanti: All over the place. I had the opportunity to film John Tucker Must Die and Resident Evil: Extinction, and after the last movie I said, “Let me step in the studio and get those creative juices rolling again!” Music has changed so much and it’s still changing. Every few months it’s a new sound, or something else is being injected into music. You definitely have to keep up with the pace. I’ve grown so much, I’ve learned so much, and with this project [The Declaration] I’ve done everything by myself. I executive produced it—behind the scenes, in front of the scenes. Creatively, it’s definitely something really different.

    I knew you had a gay following when I saw Ashanti and Beyoncé drag queens battling it out at clubs. When did you know?
    Emil Wilbekin—he used to be the editor at Vibe—was one of the first to really believe in me. He put me on the cover of the magazine—before the album came out, before the frenzy of 500,000 albums sold—and I did a performance at this gay club. It was off the chain! I had so much fun; it was just so much love.

    Do you have gay people in your inner circle?
    Yeah! The industry is run by the gay hairstylists, gay makeup artists and gay stylists. You have to have somebody gay in your crew if you’re going be successful.

    A dear friend of yours, Ja Rule, famously said in September 2007 that “gay people are fucking up America.” Why do you think there’s so much homophobia in hip-hop?
    [Laughs] I don’t know, boo-boo! That’s kind of foreign for me to comment on. I don’t know if guys are intimidated or not comfortable... I love gay guys! [Laughs] I guess you just have to be comfortable in your own skin.

    If you could be a man for a day, what’s the first thing you would do?
    I don’t wanna say it! [Laughs]

    That’s the same thing Janet Jackson told me. You can say it—let it out!
    If I was a man for a day... I would throw out all the tampons in the house! [Laughs] Don’t have to worry about the cramps, no hair and makeup!

    Who’s your celebrity girl-crush?
    What?! [Laughs] I’m strictly!

    How do you feel about the Beyoncé versus Ashanti comparisons?
    I think it’s just natural; people are always going to do it—it’s part of the game. You have two females who are successful and doing what they love. There is definitely going to be comparisons. I think that we’re just very different artists, we have very different music. There is always room for good music.

    If an Ashanti drag queen had to battle a Beyoncé drag queen, what advice would you give the Ashanti drag queen?
    Do only you—and swing your hair really hard!

    The Declaration (Universal) is out now.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 4 comments


    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Monie Love is a hip-hop pioneer and a great example of the diversity in the rap game at the time, a female London rapper. I think it would be nearly impossible for that to happen today.

    Monie Love made her American debut in 1989 in the hip-hop classic “Ladies First” with Queen Latifah shouting out Love as her “European partner”. Then, she was in the hit De La Soul song “Buddy” and who can forget her cameo in Whitney Houston’s “My Name Is Not Susan” – one of the first times Whitney incorporated hip-hop in her music.

    Monie’s first album, Down To Earth, debuted in October of 1990; the album went gold and garnered her two Grammy nominations. Her second effort, 1993's In A Word Or 2, had a song produced by Prince, but didn’t match the success of the first. Nonetheless, Monie Love continued, she made appearances on MTV game shows like Lip Service and became a popular radio host from New York City to Philadelphia .

    In 2006, Monie Love had a heated a debate with Young Jeezy about the state of hip-hop. Some said she was fired from the station due to the argument, which would be shocking if Monie Love, one of the pioneers of hip-hop, was fired for expressing her opinion on this obviously deracinated art form. Lawd knows if she were a man (I’ve heard male hip-hop hosts/DJs make more scathing comments on hip-hop) there is no way she would’ve been fired. Still, Monie Love said she was not fired, her contract was up and she decided to move on.

    Whatever the case, it was a great debate about hip-hop and in an interview shortly after leaving the Philly radio station, Monie eloquently said, "You can be in the music industry and make music and put out records and sell millions of records and still not really respect the art."

    According to her MySpace page, Monie now has a radio show on XM Satellite Radio.

    Take a stroll down memory lane to Monie Love’s greatest hits and a prolific time in hip-hop.

    1990’s “Monie in the Middle”, which went to #1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.


    "It' s A Shame (My Sister)" was in 1991 and Monie’s biggest hit. The song, which had a sample by the Spinners, charted at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100, this was a huge accomplishment for a female rapper considering “Ladies First” never charted on the Billboard Hot 100. “It s A Shame (My Sister)” also hit #8 on the Hip-Hop/R&B chart.


    Although this wasn't a Monie Love song it shows nearly all of the members of the Native Tongue Posse, which included Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Monie, and many others. De La Soul was also part of the group and this was their big hit, "Buddy", with Monie laying down a few bars.

    If the styles of the eighties have to make a comeback, wouldn't it be great if some of the styles in this video made a comeback?

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 4 comments


    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    I recently did a story on how media has had an effect on the evolution of the ballroom scene for The interview includes quotes from the legendary Jay Blahnik and the legendary Glen LaCroix.

    The first time I attended a ball was Halloween of 1995 in Philadelphia. There was a mystique and intimacy about venturing to this after midnight function, which was filled with many of the “rejected” parts of society, who were enduring intense homophobia and racism. Those who were disassociated from their family or community, whether it was directly because of their sexuality or indirectly, knowing regardless if it was ever said out loud, they might never feel fully accepted.

    The ballroom scene was a space that was void of sweeping judgments, enamored with an effusive emotion and a needed outlet for a black or Latino LGBT person. This transcendental expression of emotion and surrogate family is an essence that cannot be captured via the internet.

    Check out one of my favorite ball clips -- catch the wig snatch at the end!


    Posted by Clay :: 10:19 AM :: 3 comments


    Monday, June 16, 2008

    I was talking with some friends recently and we all said we could not think of the last time we saw a good black movie -- that wasn't a comedy. Outside of biopics, the last black film I saw that really moved me was Brown Sugar or Love & Basketball—that was over six years ago!

    I couldn’t help but reminisce on the ‘90s. There were so many amazing films that came out during that time but are often overshadowed due to embarrassments like Sprung or Booty Call. Maybe not enough time has passed, but when we think of great films about black life we usually look to films from the seventies and some of the eighties.

    Also, the great thing about black films from the nineties is you always had an amazing soundtrack, not only did you see the film on the first day it opened, you got the soundtrack!

    Taking out the overall legend Spike Lee and biopics, here are some great black films from the nineties…

    10. Friday (1995)

    Yes, I know some people complained Ice Cube’s Friday was coonery, but I remember every person in the hood ran to see this film. It was a day in the life of two slackers, well-written, classic comedy and made Chris Tucker a star. Tucker’s performance was deeply criticized for “shucking n’ jiving”, but I saw no jiving—Tucker was your local neighborhood pot head that everyone knew and loathed.
    Memorable Quote: Smokey, “You got knocked the fuck out!”
    Song: “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” by Dr. Dre
    Grossed: $28,215,918

    9. Menace II Society (1993)

    The Hughes Brothers first film, Menace II Society was following a pattern of popular black gangster flicks of the time. However, with a great flashback storyline and breakthrough performances from a 22 year-old Jada Pinkett and an 18 year-old Larenz Tate, which would make the two black film favorites of the nineties, the film found its own voice.
    Memorable Quote: Jackee, “Bitch, fuck the forms! We need a doctor! He's bleeding to death over there!
    Song: “You Been Played” by Smooth… who remembers this one-hit wonder female rapper?
    Grossed: $27,912,072

    8. Juice (1992)

    How the hell did the creators of Juice pull off a psychology thriller with around the way boys? This movie is down right legendary, starring 2Pac as Bishop, a young kid hungry for the “juice”, which is street cred. Black filmmaker, Ernest Dickerson, managed to take a classic Hollywood plot line and place it in the hood.
    Memorable Quote: Bishop, “I got more control over your life than you do.”
    Song: “Don't Be Afraid” by Aaron Hall
    Grossed: $20,146,880

    7. Boomerang (1992)

    Boomerang is classic simply because of Grace Jones. I can watch her scenes non-stop, but it’s still great to see Eddie Murphy in his “bad-ass” days and Halle Berry pre the nose job. The movie was well-done, probably my favorite romantic comedy of all time.
    Song: "I'd Die Without You" by P.M. Dawn and "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men—despicable neither one of these songs received an Oscar nod for best song from a film!
    Memorable Quote: Angela, “I'm sick and tired of men using love as if it's some disease you just catch. Love should have brought your ass home last night!” and of course, Strange, “You're going to turn down this pussy?! Nobody turns down this pussy!”
    Grossed: $131,052,444

    6. Jason's Lyric (1994)

    Yes, Lawd… it was all about Jada getting banged out on the cash register by Allen Payne! A country love story with great performances from Pinkett, and especially Allen Payne, who I thought would definitely rise to fame, but his career never really took off. Still, this is one of the most underrated films from the nineties.
    Song: “If You Think You're Lonely” by K-Ci Hailey from Jodeci who was singing his boney ass off!
    Memorable Quote: Rat (Eddie Griffin), “Don’t touch the hair!”
    Grossed: $20,851,52

    5. Soul Food (1997)

    While I liked many of the urban gang films in the early nineties, simply because of a good plot, by the time we hit ’97, everyone was tired of it. Soul Food was perfect timing, the story of a middle class black family struggling with death, love, and relationships. Also, Vivica A. Fox pre the surge!
    Song: “We're Not Making Love No More” by Dru Hill
    Memorable Quote: Teri (Vanessa Williams), “Fuck the family! The family fucked my husband!”
    Grossed: $43,700,855

    4. Love Jones (1997)

    **sigh** Don’t you just love Love Jones? This was the diversity I loved about black nineties films. Sure, you had the gangster films but here was this “melancholy” (I hated when he said that!) romantic comedy, staring Nia Long, the black film darling of the nineties, and an officially grown Larenz Tate. Love Jones gave you faith in your own failed relationships, wondering if you will ever get a second chance with the one who got away.
    Song: “Sweetest Thing” by Lauryn Hill and “Hopeless” by Dionne Farris.
    Memorable Quote: “This here, right now, at this very moment, is all that matters to me. I love you. That's urgent like a motherfucker."
    Grossed: $12,782,749

    3. Set It Off

    Four young women exhausted with the striking poverty of their neighborhood decide to rob a bank. Probably the best acting of Jada Pinkett and Vivica A. Fox’s career, we were also introduced to how good Kimberley Elise can whine on the spot, and of course Queen Latifah tonguing a woman… just acting of course. Set It Off is an amazing film, well written, and still a good watch today.
    Memorable Quote: Frankie, “I am here at 8:20 sharp every morning and I work my ass off until quitting time. Yesterday, I counted $240,000 by hand for you! That's how you should KNOW! I mean, COME ON! This is just not right! I nearly got blown away in your tired ass fucking bank, and you're gonna fire me?
    Song: “Don't Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue
    Grossed: $41,590,886

    2. Boyz ‘N The Hood

    This movie (and New Jack City, but Boyz 'N The Hood was much more emotional) started the whole urban gangster era of the nineties. Regardless of how many people are shot, how many times the words bitch or nigger are used, I still think it’s a flawless film. And Lawwwwwwwwwd, when Ricky got shot, you would’ve thought the people in theater I was at knew Ricky in real life -- the sobs were echoing!
    Song: “Me & You” by Tony! Toni! Tone'!
    Memorable Quote: Furious, “I'll tell you why. For the same reason that there is a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why is it that there is a gun shop on almost every corner in this community? Why? They want us to kill ourselves.”
    Grossed: $57,504,069

    1. Eve’s Bayou

    The mystical story of a Louisiana family and their young daughter Eve, whose world is shook up when she sees her father cheating on her mother. For me, one of the best black films of all time and, again, viciously ignored by every major awards show. Maybe the other films were too violent or too “urban” (whatever!), but Eve’s Bayou was brilliantly done, perfectly acted with Lynn Whitfield, Samuel L. Jackson and Debbi Morgan. How did Dreamgirls get Oscar nods and Eve’s Bayou didn’t?
    Memorable Quote: Mozelle (Debbi Morgan), “Life is filled with goodbyes, Eve, a million goodbyes, and it hurts every time. Sometimes, I feel like I've lost so much, I have to find new things to lose. All I know is, there must be a divine point to it all, and it's just over my head. That when we die, it will all come clear. And then we'll say, ‘So that was the damn point.’”
    Song: No song needed! But, there was a great song on the soundtrack called “A Child With The Blues” by Erykah Badu.
    Grossed: $14,842,388

    Honorable mentions: Dead Presidents, Waiting To Exhale, Straight Out of Brooklyn, New Jack City, The Five Heartbeats.

    All box office numbers taken from

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 1:28 AM :: 21 comments


    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Craig David is back with his first US album in six years, Trust Me. The sexy Brit opened up to me for The Advocate.

    This is the first time I can remember that a mainstream R&B male artist has done gay press, which is sad considering LGBT people strongly support R&B.

    Craig talked homophobia in R&B, going to a gay club, boy-crushes, and doing Beyonce in drag.

    With all the current media hype surrounding closeted black men in the entertainment industry, it's refreshing to talk with an artist who easily embraces the gay community and says, "If I was gay, I would be very open. The personality I have and the way I feel so strongly about allowing people to know where I’m coming from -- I’d be very open about it."

    For the interview, no one told me I couldn't ask certain questions (something that is usually done for any type of press) and there was no hesitation in answering anything. Craig David is the most candid male artist I have ever interviewed -- but, as we know, the Brits are much more liberal.

    Considering Mr. David has many gay rumors and a male R&B artist has never reach out to the gay community, I think it's brave of him. Maybe this will make others comfortable...


    John Legend?

    Omarion? Actually, naw, the straights can have Omarion! Click below for the story...

    Craig David: Brits Do It Better

    Click here to purchase the album, Trust Me.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 4:00 PM :: 2 comments

    Summary: Another Marvel Comic brought to the big screen... I guess they are running out of comics because this is the second time in five years the Incredible Hulk is at the movies.

    Dr. Bruce Banner has uncontrollable anger problems after toying with science. If his blood pressure gets too high he morphs into a green, muscle bound, unruly beast—who happens to have an incredible jaw line! The government wants to use him as a weapon of mass destruction, he wants to be cured of his green anger, and therefore, he is on the run.

    Review: The Incredible Hulk has no one of the same cast from 2003's Hulk. This time around, Hulk stars the always superb Edward Norton as Dr. Banner. Norton manages to save the film by casting a morbid, human presence on his character, similar to the television series from the late seventies. Even with the implausibility of Dr. Banner magically walking from Brazil to Mexico and suddenly ending up in Virginia, you are still routing for him, especially in the high-octane action sequences.

    The plump-lipped Liv Tyler plays Banner's girlfriend, who is torn between him being a humongous, lawless brute, who happens to have amazing abs, and the man she once loved... poor Liv.

    The over abundance of CGI effects nearly turns the high-budget film into a video game. You can practically see the green screen in every scene and Hulk basically looks like a cartoon. I miss the days when actors actually had make-up and elaborate costumes for their superhero characters.

    Whatever the case, The Incredible Hulk is a good film because of the strong plot. In addition, the action is great, no cheesy comic book one-liners and, most importantly, there isn’t a film that Edward Norton can’t carry.

    On another note, the final battle takes place in Harlem—right next to the Apollo Theatre (yes, you see the Apollo!) and a chicken shack on the corner. I guess the creators of The Incredible Hulk felt like since there isn’t one black cast member in the film—hell, they’ll be happy if Hulk and his enemy rage through the hood.

    Grade: B

    The Incredible Hulk is in theaters today.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 1 comments


    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Ya'll just couldn't take the five brown-skinned versions of Prince with catastrophic Jheri curls and a fake British accent! Let me tell you something, I loved some Ready For The World, they would sing that wet mane, bat their eyes, looking like cheap '80's porn stars and the ladies would swoon.

    Funny thing about Ready For The World is that even though they were a bit of gimmick, they were actually some talented young men. All from Flint, Michigan (they were faking that British accent way before Tina Turner!), they were a full band with five instruments played between all of them: drums, keyboards, bass, guitar, and percussion. Plus, Melvin Riley as the lead vocalist, who actually had a great voice even though he was clearly imitating Prince. Check out their greatest hits:

    "Oh Shelia" (1985) is the first single to simultaneously hit number one on the R&B, Billboard Hot 100, and the Hot Dance Club Play charts. Allegedly, during the making of the song the band was listening to Prince’s music. The video is a hoot today and was even a hoot back then!

    Their second and last number one hit, "Love You Down" (1986). This song is classic!


    Posted by Clay :: 12:30 AM :: 8 comments


    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Remember when having a weave was something women kept on the low? Back in the day it was a "bust" or a "crack" if a woman had a long, flowing, endless weave. Nowadays, it isn't even a legit insult since every woman from commercials to movies is decked out in colossal weaves.

    As a young’en in Philly during the ‘80s and '90's, weaves really weren’t common place. Perhaps the price of weaves didn’t make it accessible or it just wasn’t the style. Women rocked finger waves, braids, or a good ole’ fashion perm. From Oprah to the women of The Cosby Show to Halle Berry—you just didn't see weaves to that extreme, wigs, maybe.

    I remember the first time I realized black women had weaves. I was over my grandfather's house; my cousin and I were watching Karyn White's "Superwoman" video on Video Juke Box. Miss White was sashaying around some red linen, swinging her mane and staring coyly into the camera. My cousin, who was braiding her hair, said, "All that damn weave in her hair!" (The same cousin who was rolling around on the floor getting the holy ghost, but made sure not to mess up her freshly done finger waves!)

    "Huh?" I said, mind you, I was nine years-old.

    "Weave! She got all that damn weave in her hair."

    "What's a weave?"

    "Fake hair, they sew it in."

    "That isn't her hair?"

    "Boy! What black woman you know got hair like that—now leave me alone, I'm trying to braid my hair!" I thought of all the girls on my block, all the girls at school, all of my teachers, my aunts, my cousins... no one had hair like that.

    I was stunned. You could actually sew in hair? I soon found out many of them had weaves: Karyn White, Jody Watley and the weave pioneer of them all—Diana Ross! Miss Ross is definitely a weave legend and paved the way for every weave-a-licious diva alive.

    Sure, I knew black women wore wigs, but this "weave" was a whole new invention. When people knew a girl had a weave you'd here comments like, "How you gonna be bald one day and have ten inches of hair down your back the next day?" Now, braids or extensions were a whole different story, a girl would be proud of her “dookie braids”.

    As time went on weaves became more acceptable. I can't remember the exact point; I think it had something to do with mid-'90's R&B and hip-hop. En' Vogue? Lil' Kim? Mary J.? By the late '90's weaves were socially acceptable and now even white women proudly rock weaves.

    I’m sure the pro-black folks who used to read the girls who rocked a perm would do anything to abandon the weaves and go back to a Dark N’ Lovely box. Well, I could care less how women wear their hair and I don't think it makes anyone less intelligent if they rock horse hair or an afro. Still, I do miss the days when you could turn on a black television show or watch a black film and the women didn't look like bad drag queens or cast members from Flavor of Love.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:37 AM :: 8 comments


    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Last week I received an email offering an advanced copy of the book Love on a Two-Way Street by JL “I’m Not Gay, I’m Just Cashing In” King. The email titled “JL King shocked OPRAH, and the world” read:

    "King continues his crusade to shed light on the down-low phenomenon with the release of his sensational new novel, 'Love on a Two-Way Street.' The novel chronicles the encounters of a music mogul who is on the down-low and his interactions with a successful woman, and powerful industry men. Hmm. Fact or Fiction?”

    A music mogul on the down-low? Fact or fiction? Wow, that sounds about as visionary and original as a bad plot in a chitlin’ circuit play—instead of “Mama, I Wanna Sing!” it would be titled, “Mama, I Wanna Suck D*ck on!”

    I met JL King once in early 2005, before I had this web site, at a book reading for his sequel to On the Down Low. I nicely asked why the first book didn’t talk about the emotionality of men “on the down low”, making it seem as if they solely want sex. Many closeted men I’ve met and know are extremely lonely and looking for some type of love -- they're not just hot whores.

    King answered with something to the effect of, “Well, I’m happy with the book and it sold!” He also snapped at other people, who softly asked questions. Maybe he was having a bad day, but my friend next to me said, “He is really smelling himself.”

    After the reading, his editor, a black gay man, pulled me to the side and said how much he appreciated my question. He also promised the new book King was promoting, Coming Up from the Down Low, was more emotional and introspective. The editor said the only way he would sign on to do the project is if the emotionality and truth of what it means to be closeted was added. I never got around to reading the second book.

    One of the deepest problems about the media hype of the down low is the rant on HIV/AIDS, which are filled with incorrect statistics or no statistics at all. How does a person who is marketing being a strumpet become an expert on HIV/AIDS?

    While the hyper paranoia of the “down low” is pumped up again to petrify as many black women as possible, I think it’s paramount to remember an excerpt from this 2004 article titled “CDC researcher debunks statistical basis of reporting on black bisexual or 'down low' men spreading HIV”:

    Dr. Linda Valleroy, a top CDC official, has completed analysis of her Young Men’s Survey of sexual behavior and is disputing reports in the press about the link between that data and the down low phenomenon.

    In 2003, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times published stories saying that men on the down low—or African American men who have sex with both men and women, but do not identify as gay or bisexual—are making a significant contribution to the spread of HIV among African-Americans.

    Each story cited data from the Young Men’s Survey (YMS), a multi-year study by Dr. Linda A. Valleroy, that investigated the sexual behavior of 3,492 15- 22-year-olds in seven U.S, cities between 1994 and 1998 and 2,949 23- to 29-year-olds in six U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000. Her study was not an investigation of men on the down low.

    “YMS was not a ‘down low sample of young men,’ YMS was not a ‘bisexual sample of young men,’“ she wrote. “YMS was a sample of young men who had ever had sex with men who went to venues where young men who had sex with men were likely to go. The reason that ‘down low’ appears in the press release from CDC is that CDC was afraid that the press would get the wrong idea: the wrong idea being that YMS studied down low or bisexual guys, solely or particularly.”

    As one of my favorite readers, alizoom, said last week, "If black women would let go of their own homophobia as well as their incredibly fucked-up sense-of-self, **** and King wouldn't make much money, and neither would 'hard-core gangsta rappers', as we'd take a jaundiced-eyed view and steer clear of any group of men who only want to exploit our insecurities and fears in order to fill their bank accounts."

    Yes Lawd, I'se goin' home on the mornin' train... !


    Posted by Clay :: 12:30 AM :: 18 comments


    Friday, June 06, 2008

    Check out interviewing me about Terrance Dean's book Hiding in Hip-Hop. Big thanks to for even tackling this topic, very rare for a hip-hop site to even talk about this.

    Dean really wore me out with, "I also feel that black women should just become very discerning of the men that they are involved with because the man that they think is not doing anything is the very man... " turns to camera like a horror movie, "whose hiding in hip hop."

    Terrance better pull a JL King and scare as many black women as possible into buying his book! lol

    Hmmm... I wonder what's going on in Nelly's lockeroom?


    Posted by Clay :: 1:21 PM :: 16 comments


    Tasha Smith on Donna Summer Biopic: "I give a strong apology."

    Tasha Smith, what a class act.

    After my story yesterday on the Donna Summer biopic I was told that Tasha Smith read the story and would like to respond. It looks like perserving and respecting Summer's legacy is as important to her, as it is to Donna Summer's fans. Tasha clear it all up, hit the audio below for the full story.

    You can also listen here:

    I truly hope Donna Summer does make her biopic. It would be an amazing, moving story.

    Donna Summer's new album Crayons is in stores now. Click here to purchase.

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    Posted by Clay :: 11:50 AM :: 8 comments


    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Looks like someone, not exactly sure who, might be taking advantage of the great legacy of Donna Summer. Back in October, AOL Black Voices reported that Tasha Smith, who was a crowd favorite in last year's Why Did I Get Married?, will star in a biopic of Donna Summer. According to AOL Black Voices the film "may or may not be adapted from Summer's 2003 autobiography 'Ordinary Girl.'"

    Black Voices noted, Robi Reed is part of the project, she is "an Emmy Award winner who has cast modern day black classic films such as 'Do the Right Thing,' 'Malcolm X,' 'Set it Off' and 'Love Jones.'"

    AOL Black Voices also added:

    '"When probed of Summer's involvement in the forthcoming biopic, Smith professed her affinity for the five-time Grammy Award winning dance diva (born: LaDonna Adrian Gaines), but added, 'I put it to you like this, hopefully she'll be a part of it ... but it still will happen.'"

    It will still happen? At the time, I wasn't exactly sure what that line meant.

    I recently interviewed Donna Summer for HX Magazine, which comes out in their June 20th Pride Issue. In addition to the interview, I asked about the biopic.

    Everybody is wondering about your biopic supposedly starring Tasha Smith. What's the latest on that?
    Donna Summer: Who is Tasha Smith?

    Tasha Smith was in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and the word is she is playing you in your biopic.
    Donna Summer: She can do whatever she wants; it's not coming from my camp. I heard about that but it has nothing to do with me personally. I haven’t condoned it. Hopefully, when it comes to making my biopic we'll have some hand it picking the people who will be involved in it—if it's done legally and it's done with my consent.

    That's not good to hear for Donna Summer fans that you're not involved in this biopic.
    Donna Summer: I'm not involved in any biopic by anybody at this point. That contract is with a certain company and has been for at least a year and a half and she [Tasha Smith] has nothing to do with it. I don't know anymore about it than that.

    Not saying Donna Summer should know who Smith is, she is still an up and coming actress, but one would think if she is part of the Donna Summer biopic, the name would ring a bell.

    In the story from AOL Black Voices Smith says, "I'm going to do the same thing that Angela Bassett did," as we all know, Bassett played Tina Turner in the 1993 blockbuster smash What's Love Got To Do With It?

    Well, part of the reason why Tina Turner's film was so incredible is because the rock diva was deeply involved in her biopic. Anna Mae gave the greenlight for Angela Bassett even before the movie studio.

    Ray Charles received a Braille version of the script for his biopic, added much input and deleted two scenes.

    The legendary country singer Loretta Lynn, handpicked Sissy Spacek in her biopic, the Coal Miner's Daughter, which won Spacek an Oscar.

    We’ve all heard how in the making of Aretha Franklin’s biopic she allegedly gave a blueberry cornbread "NO!" to Jennifer Hudson and requested Halle Berry.

    So why would Donna Summer not get the same respect for her life story? The only excuse for an artist to have nothing to do with their biopic, or not give consent, is if the artist has passed. Summer is alive and well and just released her first studio album in 17 years, Crayons.

    On another note, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, so many black female artists from Nina Simone to Phyllis Hyman have been robbed by the entertainment industry. It would be disappointing to Donna Summer's legacy, and her fans, if Tasha Smith and/or Robi Reed, who are successful black women in the entertainment industry, would go forward with a film without the consent of the icon herself.

    With all the said, I did have the pleasure of interviewing Tasha Smith. She was a gracious, sincere, and humble spirit. Honestly, Smith would be a great choice to play Donna Summer. Much better than Mary J. as Nina Simone and Beyonce as Etta James!

    Donna Summer's Crayons is in stores now.


    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 18 comments


    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    As the news came in last night that Senator Barack Obama was the presumptive Democratic nominee, I got a tear in my left eye. Yeah, I know it's a little dramatic, but my mind just shot to all the times I've been called a nigger... so I doubted this. I remembered in college writing papers on lynchings -- where I had a collage of dead black people (and some whites)... so I said this would never happen. I recalled how my great-great grandmother was born a slave in Virgina... so I feared this. I remember my grandfather telling me the stories of being raised in the Jim Crow South and how they are still dead bodies in the lakes of Virginia... so it was hard for me to fully believe this. It was this flash of all these thoughts and I said, "Wow, this is really happening."

    Yes, I know this isn't about race. I am happy that Obama didn't mention he is the "first black nominee" in his speech last night. However, I saw it in his smile, staring into the crowd, nodding his head -- we knew he knew and we didn't need him to say it.

    Many people of color always have the assumption of racism, that nothing will ever prevail. Sure, there are already folks with a defeatist attitude. Some are already saying he will never win the general election. Okay, well, you thought he would never beat out all of the white male nominees. Then, you thought he would never beat Billary, but now we are here. You better get a lil' faith. I don't care about your cynicism. I don't care about your loyalties to the Clinton Dynasty, we are here. A space that no one thought we would get.

    Lastly, there are many white Americans who are proud. When I watched that 90% crowd in Minnesota last night it proved to me again and again -- this isn't a black movement.

    Still, as a black person in America, I do need to relish for a minute.


    Posted by Clay :: 10:40 AM :: 49 comments


    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    Today, Ashanti’s fourth album, The Declaration, hits stores.

    Check out my interview with Ashanti for EDGE and at the end of June my main interview with Ashanti will come out in HX Magazine, where we discuss Beyonce, her gay fans, Ja-Rule's comment in Blender ("gays are f*cking up America") and more.

    In the meantime, listen to my audio extras –- she discusses Senator Obama, the “Tip Drill” video (loved that she said "I wasn't a big fan of that video."), racism, and even busts out a lil’ acapella. Also, she talks her song "Diva", probably one of the first times an R&B artist made a song strictly for the gays -- not just a one liner, no code, no subliminal messages -- and the song is HOT.

    By the way -- I'm glad Ashanti admitted she has experienced racism in the music industry. Considering I interviewed another R&B female artist who said she experienced no racism.

    PS. If you link this audio -- please credit!


    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 5 comments


    Monday, June 02, 2008

    The international straights have lost their cotton-pickin’, hypocritical mind. We all know how ridiculously homophobic Iran is, especially when in September 2007 Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said they didn't have the "phenomenon" of homosexuality. Well, if they didn't have the phenomenon then why a law to kill gays? Whatever the case, it gets even more complex; Iran is anti-gay but supports and pays for transsexual operations. Accord to BBC News:

    "Sex changes have been legal in Iran since Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution, passed a fatwa - a religious edict - authorising them for 'diagnosed transsexuals' 25 years ago.

    Today, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand.

    The government even provides up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance and a sex change is recognised on your birth certificate.

    'Islam has a cure for people suffering from this problem. If they want to change their gender, the path is open,' says Hojatol Islam Muhammad Mehdi Kariminia, the religious cleric responsible for gender reassignment.

    He says an operation is no more a sin than 'changing wheat to flour to bread'.

    Yet homosexuality is still punishable by death.

    'The discussion is fundamentally separate from a discussion regarding homosexuals. Absolutely not related. Homosexuals are doing something unnatural and against religion,' says Kariminia. 'It is clearly stated in our Islamic law that such behaviour is not allowed because it disrupts the social order.'"

    While the concept is deeply flawed, it's fascinating how Iran seems to get that sexuality and gender are two different entities. However, to use Islam as an excuse to embrace gender reassignment surgery, but hate gays at the same time is troubling. On the other hand, I've had many transgenders tell me they’ve experienced more prejudice from gays than heterosexuals, especially if they are "unspookable". Still, not all is love juice in Iran; some transgenders are still rejected from their family:

    "'Her family's reaction has taken its toll. Although they warned her she would be disowned, she thought that they would change their mind after the operation.

    'They pray for me to die soon. If I'd known that my family would truly shun me like this, I would never have done it.'

    She now lives with other transsexuals who have had a sex change. She has had to work as a prostitute to make ends meet.

    Rejection by her parents has affected her deeply: 'When parents can kill the love for their own child inside themselves, I have killed love in my being. I will never fall in love'."

    Click here for the full article, which also highlights the documentary about transsexuals in Iran, Be Like Others.

    On another note, I'm curious to note what type of hormones they use (transgenders take female hormones). The men in Iran are known to be hairy - do they get laser surgery? What about facial surgery -- what about breast implants? Is Iran paying for all the extra services? From what I saw in the movie clips, these Iranian femme queens are looking as real as a sandstorm!

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 10:10 AM :: 5 comments


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