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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seal is a true singer songwriter. Not someone who needs five other writers in a song that doesn't have a word with more than three syllables. He writes, produces, sings live, and I have been a fan for his nearly twenty-year career.
On November 11th, Seal releases his new album Soul, which is a collection of covers from Otis Redding to James Brown. There is also a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Gonna Come," which was recorded 45 years ago. Please check out the the video below, which is a tribute to Sen. Barack Obama -- the imagery is striking and reiterates the importance of Tuesday, November 4th.
Now I know Seal isn't Rihanna, but for anyone out there who is into the more progressive, thought-provoking music -- please submit your questions for Seal in the comments!
I love the female voice and I love '90s and '80s R&B. I am not Rolling Stone, but below is my list of some of the best R&B from sistahs during that era. These songs are often overlooked in the "greatest songs of all time" specials or editorials (from pop to R&B critics). So with the help of two other folks, who happen to be singers themselves, I humbly pulled this list together. I didn't repeat artists and only used songs that were released as singles.
Sometimes it's the voice, the beat, the lyrics -- but whatever it is, it has got to have the soul.
This song ushered in a new sound for female R&B in the '90's and one of the only sustaining artists from that era -- Mary. The merger of hip-hop and R&B, and Mary's pained voice -- coupled with the New York style video, instantly became a classic.
Anyone could've made this song hit and Karyn White lucked out with this ballad written by two men, Babyface and L.A. Reid. I don't think there are many black women in the late '80's who didn't have every line of this song memorized!
Damn, we were loving some Toni. We hadn't heard a voice like this since Anita Baker. You couldn't help but listen to this ballad without hearing Halle Berry in Boomerang say, "Love shoulda brought your ass home last night!"
I just don't see it getting more rhythm and blues than this. There is so much Phyllis to chose from: "Meet Me On the Moon," "Old Friend" and the #1 R&B hit "Don't Wanna Change the World." Still, "Living In Confusion" is the song that truly captures the essence of Hyman in voice and lyrics. She had the rhythm, soul, vocals, and she definitely was blue. The song was written by Kenny Gamble, Terry Burrus, AND Phyllis Hyman. Yes, she co-wrote this song and almost all the songs on this list the artists had no hand in writing. I'm sure Phyllis penned the line, "You build me up to let me down." There is not a single vocalist on the planet -- and there never will be -- who can sing this song like Phyllis Hyman -- period!
Honorable Mentions: "Treat U Rite" - Angela Winbush, "Miracles" - Stacey Lattisaw, "Grapevyne" - Brownstone, "No More Lies" - Michel'le, "The Men All Pause" - Klymaxx, "Love Come Down" - Evelyn "Champagne" King, "Before You Walk Out of My Life" - Monica, "Soon As I Get Home" - Faith Evans, "Jump To It" - Aretha Franklin, "I'm Weak for You" - Madame X (if you don't know this song, it's a must listen) Add your favorites in the comments!
In your twenties each year is like five years. There are so many mistakes made and more lessons than you can sometimes handle. So here is a recommended list of thirty things to do before thirty. This is not to say some of these can't be done in your thirties or at any age, but these to-dos are a must for your twenties. Unfortunately, I can't say I did them all!
30. Get your college degree
29. Have savage, memorable sex in a foreign country
28. Download illegal music
27. Masturbate in the mirror
26. Get deservingly fired from a job
25. Live in New York City, at least for a few months—it's a must!
24. Have a passport! Not having a passport by 30 is foolish, i.e., Governor Sarah Palin
23. Have a same sex experience and if you're gay, have an opposite sex experience (I guess Clay Aiken will never get there!)
22. Record yourself having sex then erase over it
21. Watch a Jenna Jameson porn -- she's a legend!
20. Have sex in a public place
19. Have seen at least one of the three live in concert -- Madonna, Prince, or Janet Jackson
18. Get your wisdom teeth pulled—because after 30 those bastards are going to hurt like all hellz!
17. Get regularly tested for HIV
16. HERPES test, oh yes; some of y’all think the HIV is enough
15. Hate religion (maybe come back to it in your 30s)
14. Have a bank account! Ever notice the line at the check cashing places? By thirty there is no excuse for not having your own account number!
13. Have a one night stand ... several nights in a row
12. Lose your virginity (Yes, I know some of you whores lost it and threw it into the sea in your early teens!)
11. Take someone's virginity... in your thirties, taking someone's virginity can be a bit pedophile-ish
10. Receive and give oral
9. Get stood up and say, "I would never do that to someone!" Then stand someone up.
8. Have sex with someone twice your age ... because sex with a 60 year-old at 30 ain't sexy
7. Get therapy -- if you think no one understands you it’s just that you don’t understand yourself
6. Say you're in love with someone after a week, then realize days later you were just in naïve lust
5. Shack up with someone, say you'll never do that again then do it in your thirties
4. Abandon the fashions of BET and MTV -- by thirty you are officially in the VH1 category! That goes for you too Russell Simmons!
3. Have aspirations to be a singer, model, or actor ... then realize you ain't gonna be any of the three.
2. Fall in love for the first time and then get your heart broke for the first time -- you're first isn't supposed to last that is why it's your first. But just know, like Dionne Warwick said -- you'll never love that way again.
1. Hand in your youth license: In your twenties you get license to be a whore (safely), not expect consequences, be emotionally careless, spend endless nights at the club while getting groped inappropriately by strangers, etc. You need your twenties to get these things out of your system. However, the person in their thirties who is still living life like they are a reoccurring cast member on The Real World, there are no excuses -- it doesn't make you look cute, just old.
A big question a lot of the fans have is—why exactly was Noah’s Arc canceled?
I’ve been given some explanations, but I don’t really know. The best I could gather is that Logo is still a fairly new network, smaller network within that Viacom MTV landscape. The budget just isn’t big even though the network is growing; it's available in some 40 million homes now. I guess they are trying to spread it around as much as they can and hit different parts of the LGBT audience. It's my understanding that a couple seasons is kind of their limit as far as an original series goes. Time will tell if that is really true. [Laughs] I don’t know, if I suddenly start seeing some of these other shows get third seasons then I suppose that will beg another question. What was it really about? But, I’m not going to go there!
You once said the television series didn’t get enough support from white gay press. Do feel like this time around that white gay press is supporting you? Questions like that are tricky because part of me just wants to be like gangster Spike Lee and call the shit out. Part of me says, I don’t know if it's necessarily going to help the problem by calling the shit out. But, you know... I don’t think white press ever gives us the attention that they should. I’ve always said and will continue to say, if this were a white movie we'd be getting so much more press than we get. We still have to fight for magazine covers. Darryl Stephens is on the cover of Instinct, but if I hadn’t called them out and said, "Why haven’t we been on the cover of your magazine? What do we have to do—what has to happen here?” Thank God it happened. I don’t know if you're going to see us on any of the other national covers. I don’t think you're going to see us on The Advocate, I don’t think you're going to us on Genre—I think it's shameful. We had one Advocate cover, Doug Spearman, and that was drama to get that. If this were a white movie I guarantee you'd see these guys on all of those covers. They always say "Oh, black covers don't sell as much." It's the same argument that the fashion magazines think. I don’t know what has to happen there. For me, I just try to keep pushing, do what I do and realize it doesn't start and stop with those magazines fortunately. But, they could do better.
Is Punks ever coming to DVD?
[Sighs] We've been working on it, especially now with Noah's Arc coming out. We’re really trying to get it all ironed out. Yes, it will come to DVD, I don't have a date but I'm hoping it will be soon. It’s really an unfortunate situation where the company who released the film, Urban World, they just really botched it from A to Z. Then, they kind of went under as far as being a distributor and left a lot of legal loose ends with music -- certain things that were not tied up and made the film unreleasable. We're just sorting through all of that muck to get everything ironed out, but there is a plan in place.
What is your favorite scene in the movie? I love the interplay between Noah and Wade; they feel like a real couple. It’s the romance that we want to see—we don’t get to see that very often. Black gay men need to see that kind of stuff because we are a hot mess! We are a hot shitty mess, as I like to say. Everyone’s wearing these costumes whether it’s your drag or your Timberlands—what we’re valuing as a culture right now is shit. We just want to go to Hotlanta Pride and fuck as many guys as we can, but we’re not trying to find something a little bit more meaningful. There is nothing wrong with the fucking, but we got to start laying some foundations and writing some blueprints so these younger gay men who come up have a sense of what they’re supposed to do.
Has your goal with Noah’s Arc been achieved?
In a perfect world, especially as the show was heavily inspired by Sex and the City, Golden Girls, and those kinds of shows—I would’ve liked to have done more. I’m proud of what we've been able to accomplish, two seasons of a gay TV show and a feature film is a lot. Is it enough? No. But, I’m proud of it and I'll continue to try and do more and other projects. If this movie comes out and it's a hit maybe they'll want to have us back and we can do a little bit more.
What’s next for you? My next project, I start shooting that in the middle of November. It’s an adaptation of the book Blackbird by Larry Duplechan. I’m shooting in my hometown in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It’s about a gay boy in high school coming of age—it’s going to be raw, raunchy, and great.
One of my friends recently said, “There ain't no love out there for anybody!” I thought of this post from nearly three years ago.
The year is at the bitter end and many are reflecting on relationships. I have friends of all orientations who are going through awful times in relationships and some are at the height of happiness (you know those are the lesbians!). Recently, I've had conversations with men about what they perceive to be the current state of black/Latin male relationships.
Many of the guys I spoke with said, "The reason why so many of our relationships don't last is because there’s nothing that binds us. We can't marry or have children—IT'S SO EASY TO WALK AWAY." I think I heard this "it's so easy to walk away" before I heard "top" or "bottom." Most of the gay men I know agree ... If only we could marry ... if only we could have kids ... if only we could live life like the straights.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for gay marriage, but I don't think that's the reason why we do not have long lasting relationships (honestly, I don’t even agree that we don’t have long lasting relationships, but for the sake of this post, let me act like I do). This belief is a pandemic in the lives of black/Latin gays thinking the straights have it all figured out. The straights divorce at a 50% rate, they have higher domestic violence rates—they get hurt, lied to, cheated on, stabbed, shot, murdered and in some cases cutting off the penis and throwing it in a field!
Getting married does mean you'll a have marvelous life, as Pepa Labeija, said, "it might in fact be worse!" Usually, I am challengded with, "My parents have been married for 50 years!" Fifty years ago was 1955! Black folks were still trying to fight against segregation in 1955. That was a different time before the sexual revolution, before child abuse laws, before domestic violence laws, before birth control was accepted, before porn, before HIV/AIDS, before women joined the workforce, before women's liberation—why are we comparing ourselves to a time and people that are completely different?
Granted, if you are married it may take longer to get a divorce. Nonethless, Most people walk away before the divorce. Marriage or children does not keep people together. Feminists have been trying to teach this to women for years and I'm shocked that some gay men have somehow embodied this lie.
I’ve met many people who say marriage and children ruined their relationship. This is not to say that NO marriages last, my point is to black/Latin gay men that it's not Utopian and safe-guarded as we might think. I will never forget when Oprah said if she married Steadman she knows in her SOUL (you can't argue with Oprah's soul!) that they would be divorced by now.
If you want a relationship with another man and you are a man, you cannot emulate straight people. Just like if black folks want success they cannot think success means having "everything the white man has." One person I know said, "I want a relationship like a straight relationship." My reply was, "Well, you couldn't maintain a straight relationship when you were with women so how do you think you’re going to have 'like a straight relationship' with a man? Why not just want a good relationship?"
One of the great things I like about not being one of the straights is the little freedom I have from constructs and traditions (as Lauryn Hill said: "traditions killing freedom"). Often times if a woman is not married by thirty she is made to feel like a failure. If a straight man is not married by forty, people question if he is gay.
Gay people are oppressed in horrible ways, but there’s a freedom that we have in our relationships that are unique, which is what we need to embrace. That could be a huge reason why lesbians are stereotypically known to be so successful in relationships. They say, "We are going to work this out regardless if we can marry! Now let's go watch Lifetime the whole weekend and not leave our house for three days!"
Occasionally, I talk to some old friends from middle school and high school and they often express heavy regret, loneliness, and entrapment because they are married. One of my old friends cried to me, "I wish I was doing something with my life. I love my kids but I never went to college, got married in my early 20s and now I regret everything because I’m just stuck. You have so much freedom.” I tried to convince her being a mother is the greatest job in the world, which it is, but it was hard for to embrace that when her two kids were wildly screaming in the background. Not saying every straight person feels they are/were trapped, but I believe many (especially those who married and had kids at a young age) do feel this and gay men romanticize their life.
Black/Latin men can be in long term relationships, but only without emulating relationships that are not us. When we can get married, no men should consider marrying each other if they really think that marriage will bind them and make it harder to "walk away." If you need to walk away—YOU SHOULD. There shouldn't be binds, or anything locking you emotionally, psychically, or spiritually.
In case you missed it, Proposition 8 will take away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in California. Now, the prejudice powers that be are reaching out to the black church to sway the vote... they might fall for it.
One minister in Oakland, California, who happens to be openly gay, claims that he somehow knows, "gay black people don't want to get married anyway." Another pastor rationalizes, "I am not trying to rail against gay people; we have gay people in our music department!" And he says, "When you look at the people getting married in San Francisco, you didn't see very many blacks. It's not a distinct issue in the black community."
This is fascinating... so because you think all of the gay people in California are segregated to San Francisco, you think there isn't enough black gay people who want to marry or even want the choice? What about all the gays and lesbian who can travel to California and marry?
To make matters worse, the Jim Crow church folk remixed a song called "Bigger Than Any Mountain" and changing it to "Bigger Than Any Gay Rights."
One reason black Americans might be effective in supporting this ban on gay marriage is because so many are coming to the polls to vote for Sen. Barack Obama. After making a historical pull of the lever in voting for Obama, they might be willing to go forty years behind and vote for Prop. 8.
Michael Crawford from The Bilericio Project argues that black voters are not to blame if Prop. 8 passes because there aren't enough blacks in the state, black folks are not a voting monolith, and anti-gay beliefs are funded by white evangelicals.
I strongly disagree. No, black folks aren't a monolith, but those who are in support of Prop. 8 are reaching out to the black church who -- admit it or not -- vote as a monolith. They are reaching out to the weak-minded who are easily swayed by whatever their pastor says. Also, there doesn't need to be a large amount of black voters in California, the yay or nay could depend on only a few thousand votes. Yes, anti-gay beliefs are funded by whites -- but there is one thing that links racist whites and homophobic blacks -- religion!
The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications have reported on the yes to Proposition 8 from sections of the black community. I'm hoping that the more human people will make a sensible decision on Prop. 8 and focus on the extreme illiteracy rates in urban California schools, the amount of black crimes, and extremely high HIV/AIDS statistics.
Labelle's first CD since their break-up over thirty years ago is in stores today -- the ten-track funk and soul throwback, Back to Now. The Verve Records production is produced by Lenny Kravtiz, Wyclef Jean, and Kenny Gamble. Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash will be at Club Splash in New York City for a signing (not a performance) at 10pm.
Be there! Check out this amazing clip of Labelle performing "Can I Speak To You Before You Go To Hollywood."
When people talk bad girls in TV and film, they always say Angelina Jolie roles, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and Bond Girls. However, the sisters are always forgotten. When I say bad girls, I mean the sassy, relentless, no-holds barred chick who basically makes the story.
Check out the top ten baddest black girls in television and film!
10. Dead Presidents (1995)/28 Days Later (2002)
N'Bushe Wright - Delilah Benson Best scene in Dead Presidents is when Delilah jumps out of the dumpster screaming and shooting. Her entire character had sass, attitude, and full-tilt drama. Dead Presidents is one of the most underrated films of the nineties.
Naomie Harris - Selena The only sistah for the two hours of 28 Days Later, Selena wasn't playing. She hacked "the infected" away and was willing to chop up anyone else who got in her way. Screaming and angry, with the perm still tight, Selena was a UK bad girl.
9. Set It Off (1996)
Queen Latifah - Cleopatra 'Cleo' Sims
Lesbian bad girl, with her cornrows and gangster stroll. Latifah nailed this role, in a movie that I thought deserved some Oscar nods.
8. Sparkle (1976) Lonette McKee – Sister For 1976, Sister was an edgy bad girl. Making out with her man in the car and dressed in mini-skirts or skin tight pants with leopard print—back in the day, only a harlot wore animal print!
7. Boomerang (1992) Robin Givens - Jacqueline Boyer Givens manipulated, played, and treated Murphy’s character like a desperate tramp. Who can forget when she left the money on the nightstand? Jacqueline was professional, intelligent, and evil, only Robin Givens could’ve played this character.
6. Eve’s Bayou (1997) Lisa Nicole Carson - Matty Mereaux Southern bad girl! Matty was a bad girl just for smoldering at the bar with her white dress and red flower print—lusting for a married man. Carson’s character was a major plot line, causing death and destruction. By the way – what happened to Lisa Nicole Carson? She was such a talent.
5. Harlem Nights (1989) Della Reese – Vera
Vera was the cussing, boozing, and fighting broad who owned a whorehouse. The fight with Eddie Murphy’s character goes down in black movie history. One of her best lines was, “You shut the fuck up, Bennie! I would tell you to kiss my ass, but knowing you, you probably can't find it, you blind motherfucker!”
4. Women of Brewster Place (1989) Jackée Harry - Etta Mae The saucy minx of Brewster Place, with the flashy car, tight clothes and always carried her LPs, full of bluesy and ungodly music. Her baddest moment was when she had sex with the preacher, took the walk of shame home and Mattie (Oprah) was waiting up for her in the rocking chair—listening to that tawdry secular music.
3. Ugly Betty (2006 – 2008) Vanessa Williams - Wilhelmina Slater Shady, powerful, rich, quick mouth, and makes the show. Honestly, Ugly Betty would be a yawn without Wilhelmina. Favorite line is when Wilhelmina spat to Betty, "Let's not talk around this like a couple of dull white people!"
2. Coffy (1973) Pam Grier When you see Pam’s titties you knew someone was about to die! Pam became a 70s legend for her portrayal of the nurse by day and vigilante at night in urban Los Angeles.
1. Dynasty (1984 – 1987) Diahann Carroll–Dominique Deveraux Dominique Deveraux is television history. The character rejuvenated the show with the wild cat fights, over the top glamour and biting lines. Diahann Carroll proudly says she was "the first black bitch on television." Legend and the baddest sister of them all!
Carroll's biography, The Legs Are The Last To Go, is in stores now. The woman is still beautiful -- a breast cancer survivor and 74 years-old!
Check out one of Deveraux's best moments.
Honorable mentions: School Daze (1988) Tisha Campbell - Jane Toussaint, New Jack City (1991) Vanessa A. Williams – Keisha, Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998) Vivicia A. Fox - Mickey Waters, Two Can Play At That Game (2001) Gabrielle Union - Conny Spalding
Check out my story on Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom in this week's issue of HX. The film is in theaters exactly a week from today in New York, DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Noah's Arc jumps into theaters!
With Aretha Franklin's stank attitude and loss of most of her vocal range, it's so easy to forget the diva that Aretha was once. Even I said to a friend of mine recently, "Aretha is a lil' overrated. There were so many great singers of the 60s and 70s!" But, like Oprah Winfrey in The Women Brewster Place my friend said, "Come back! Come back!" and played this 1972 live performance of "Oh Me Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)". I said, "Hmph!" and had to give it up for Re-Re...
Well, leave it to John Walker on the 13th anniversary of the Million Man March to predict a dismal future for America. Walker's fourth opinion piece for ClayCane.net is biting commentary on Sen. Barack Obama, his presidential chances, and the black community.
I still think Sen. Barack Obama will not be President. I could be wrong about this, and in fact it feels like I'm wrong with the recent gains in the polls, but my skepticism still doesn't allow me to think America is ready for a Black President. I still think that race matter to far too many white people in this country. My father who lived through the heat of the segregated South is more optimistic, which on some level causes me to question the authenticity of my own distrust.
Gerry McEntee, AFL-CIO union leader says that he's spoken to white working class union members who simply say they can't vote for a Black man. These voters explain, "He's not one of us" or "He's Muslim!" Most of us have probably seen the recent video clip of an older white woman telling Sen. McCain that "Obama is an Arab." In my opinion, this election is already decided -- the pollsters just don't have the research tools to figure it out with greater certainty.
Beyond my speculation that Obama may lose, I even have a remote desire that he does. Dare I say, it's because of the naïveté of black people? If the stakes weren't so damn high for our country, I probably would campaign for McCain for the sole purpose of seeing the pathetic reaction of Negroes the day after an Obama loss. Unfortunately, as necessary as an Obama win is for the country, it reinforces all of the lazy political and fiscal habits that black people have. I don't want this present generation of Blacks to think it's this easy to get to the Promised Land. When confronted with this statement, most blacks quickly counter by saying, "Of course an Obama candidacy is not going to change everything!" as though that is a sufficient answer.
Blacks tend to get excited for one-time events, anything that may dramatize the notion that the cosmos is either for or against us. For example, the OJ Simpson trial in 1994-95; Blacks were happy that Orenthal the Oreo got off for murdering them two white folks as though he represented the plight of Black men who are unjustly being devoured by a prison-military industrial complex.
Next we had TheMillion Man March, exactly thirteen years ago today. This event was successful by event standards but a total failure by any that measure the efficacy of movements.
Ten years later we had Katrina—did we actually need a hurricane to expose what every vital statistic consistently told us year after year?
Now, it's Barack Obama—the black messiah. Obama himself isn't to blame for this idea, in fact he never asked for or courted black support. Far too many black people see his rise to prominence as a part of a divine scheme -- and that is precisely my problem.
Even though we know that an Obama candidacy will not yield any material advantage for the masses of black people - we still want it and need it for our psyche. We want our white step-brothers and sisters with whom we occupy this land to envy us for a change.
Blacks see supporting an Obama Presidential candidacy as their blow against the system. It is this worldview that I hear repeated on talk radio and in casual conversation that makes me want to take a bat to most of the damn near 40 million Negroes in America. As a nation, we really need Obama to win, the alternative in the personage of the McCain-Palin ticket is simply too dangerous.
As a people who are prone to religiosity as well as entertainment, or even more poignant -- religion as entertainment, we have an appetite for drama. We love waiting on the miracle, the immaculate conception or at least the immaculate concept.In the off chance that I'm right and Obama doesn't win -- do we wait four more years for another Black messiah to emerge?
John Walker is a guest writer for ClayCane.net. This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of Clay Cane.
Scholastic, a children’s publishing and media company, voted Sen. Obama the president over of Sen. McCain:
This is an important poll because Scholastic kids have only gotten this wrong twice since 1940 -- 1948, Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman, and 1960, Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy. The fact that even the kids chose President Bush two years in a row really scares the hell out of me! Let's hope the kids got it right this time.
Artists like Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, and especially Fantasia, manage to keep the grit and vulnerability of soul music alive. However, male R&B artists of today seem to be missing the emotionality of female artists. Back in the '60s and '70s artists like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green would break down and cry on stage -- now everyone wants to be a thug or sexy. In my opinion, the last emotional soul singer of R&B was K-Ci from Jodeci.
What happened to the soul of male artists? And please don't tell me R. Kelly is in the category!
Check out this awesome performance from a 23 year-old Teddy Pendergrass in 1973 when he was with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He is singing "I Miss You" like the woman is just about to walk out the door! Please ignore that awful Ike Turner gilda...
Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom is in theaters exactly two weeks from today! The Logo television series has finally made its way to the big screen and is opening in five major cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles, DC, New York, and Chicago.
I have some press coming out with a few of the boys from Noah’s Arc, but for now check out my interview with Jensen Atwood who reprises the role of Wade, Noah's boyfriend and soon to be husband. We chat about those Shemar Moore rumors, the cancellation, and more.
This is my second interview with Mr. Atwood. My first interview with him was in December 2006 for BlackPlanet.com. Back then, we talked about him being a straight actor playing gay, which he willingly discussed and gave some great answers. However, now, Mr. Atwood is giving me a bit of Jodie Foster teas. Don't you usually start off not talking about sexuality then eventually grow into being more comfortable?
The argument of "privacy" is always peculiar to me -- you can be openly gay and still be extremely private. Anyway, check it out for yourself and be sure to support Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom on Friday, October 24th!
How does it feel to see Noah’s Arc go from television to the big screen? A little bit of disbelief, but more excitement than anything. I think it's an unbelievable accomplishment, as far as we've come.
Did you have any hesitation returning to the character of Wade? No, not returning to the character of Wade. Wade is an awesome character; the fan response has been unbelievable so there really was no hesitation in continuing the role we started five years ago.
The film is fun and everyone is having a good time, but it’s also a black gay wedding. We are in such a political time right now, gay marriage in California. For you, what does that say? I think it definitely makes a statement. I truly believe in equal rights for everyone. I don’t think it could’ve come at a better more poignant time in our history. To have a voice, to stand up and say, “Here we are and we exist and we're human beings and we deserve the same rights as everyone else." I think the timing couldn’t be any better.
You still identify as heterosexual—correct? I don't speak about my sexuality on public forums. I don’t think there is any need for it as an actor. I like to keep the subject on my profession.
Okay, well, this was my question then—you can decide if you want to answer it or not. How different do you think your career would be if you were an openly gay man? Wow… how different do I think my career would be? I don't think it would be different at all.
The reason why I ask that is because people in the cast, except for Darryl Stephens and Doug Spearman at this point, have said something to the effect of, "If we say we're gay it's going to hurt our careers" or "We'll be pigeon holed."So, I'm asking you—do you think it would be any different? Well, I don’t think my sexuality has anything to do with my talent.
Okay, so you don't think it would have an effect? Not at all. I guess I can only repeat myself, I don't think my sexuality has anything to do with my talent.
At one point, you said on your blog that Shemar Moore might be playing Wade. There was some back and forth that you might not be in this film project. How much truth was there to that? I don’t know if there was any truth to it. At that point in time I had little to no communication with Logo or the powers that be at Noah’s Arc. After getting canceled and just kind of in that aura of disbelief, along came no communication and so I started listening to the rumors I think a lot of the fans started listening to. On my blog, I did throw out there as far as what I had been hearing -- as far as rumors because I had no other information to go off of. I don’t know if there was any truth to it at all. But, there was definitely fear in me that I wouldn’t continue the role I started.
Are you disappointed there wasn’t a third season or are you just happy there is a film? Even to this day. I still feel the same way, I cannot make any sense of it. You know, I’m still shocked. It still truly makes no sense to me, especially Noah's Arc being the flagship of Logo, being its most popular show. I still haven't found the logic.
Do you think it’s because you’re a black show? That has been thrown out there before. I try not to make it a racial thing, but I don't have any other answers. Just like I had to start listening to rumors as far as whether I’d be a part of Noah's Arc or not. At this point in time, I have no facts so I can only listen to speculation. That speculation has come up before.
Are you single? I’m married to the entertainment business.
Wow—that's a tough relationship! You ain't lying; she's bad to me at times! [Laughs] We always seem to make up.
Do you have male groupies—boys who are throwing themselves at you? Wow... I guess the term groupie; I'm not that definitive on what it is.
Okay, let me be clear—do you have men who are throwing themselves at you? Boys who want to sleep with you? I'm lucky to have a dedicated fan base, male and female. So, I have…[Laughs] I have been made offers of all sorts by male and female fans.
Is it hard to meet somebody, go out on a date? Is it hard to go out on a date?
Yeah, is it hard to meet somebody? You know, date and get to know people. I don't know this to be honest with you. My focus in life is my career. Dating is not really on the top of my priority list. I guess I really haven't been faced with it because it's just really not my focus.
Okay! [Laughs] I'm not gonna grill you on it. I'm trying to get something out of you. Are you lonely? Do you get lonely in the hour? I think everybody gets lonely. There times I'm in a room full of people and I still feel lonely. I think it's just a common human trait.
I hear you. So, is this the end of Noah's Arc? As far as I know, it is the end. There is nothing scheduled after Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom. I can only assume it's the end. I hope that it's not. I'm sure the fans feel the same way, but I can only go off the facts. Right now the facts are telling me—this is it.
Do you feel like if this is it, it's a nice close to the project? That's a hard question for me actually. Truly, in my mind, I feel like we should be on our fifth or sixth season by now. So, as nice of a close as it could be—sure, why not end on a feature film?
Right on cue, Lady Soul released this statement to USA Today:
"I have always appreciated what Tina Turner has to offer and had quietly cheered her on after Ike and her subsequent success."
If that ain't some banana pudding shade! To mention Ike Turner, knowing the history of abuse -- Re-Re wanted to bring Tina right back to her Nutbush roots!
"However, with respect to her statement concerning my ego, clearly she was talking about herself as she described herself as the 'Queen of Rock' and saying 'that's what Queens do' — particularly since she does not have a clue as to who I am in view of the fact that we have never met."
If that ain't some fried corn shade! Well, maybe you would've met Tina if you would've been at Oprah's Legends Ball! Rumor had it you didn't want to be honored with other legends, you just wanted to be the legend. Also, it is clear that Tina Turner is the queen of rock - she is the second person on the cover of Rolling Stone, she is the first female rock star, everyone from Janis Joplin to Pat Benatar to Pink credits Tina Turner. I mean, really Aretha! You are stretching as much as your titty skin!
"I never figured her to resort to tacky press just to sell a few tickets. I understand and I know that the concert market is down where ticket sales are concerned. I really had put her in a different class — higher than that."
If that ain't some barbecue pig feet shade! Aretha -- Tina is outselling Madonna and Janet combined. Could Aretha even come close to selling out Madison Square Garden? Wasn't this the same woman who performed last year with a Pink's Hot Dog hat on her head because the company was sponsoring her show?
"Finally, no one has been more gracious or complimentary to their peers than I have and I am confident and secure enough to do so, unlike some others. I wish Ms. Turner all the best, as I always have. Perhaps one day we will meet."
If that ain't some butternut squash shade! "Gracious or complimentary" -- oh me, oh my, I won't be a fool for you Aretha! The stories of Aretha are downright legendary -- Mavis Staples, Martha Reeves, Natalie Cole. Hell, even when Jill Scott performed "Natural Woman" at VH1's Divas Live, Aretha refused to say her name. Aretha is on the freeway of foolishness!
You know the songs your mom, sister, aunts, or cousins would listen to. It would make them put their hand in the air and say, "That m*thaf*cka..."
As you got older you would appreciate these songs more. Artists of our generation would start spilling out these tracks that were specifically geared to black women -- the songs always have some soul, sass, and a neck roll.
I remember the video with Kelly Price as the tragic big girl in the back of limousine and all that mascara running down her face. The video even had a camp factor with Ron Isley and R. Pissy. Definitely a sistah girl song!
Best line: "I'm callin', I'm callin', I'm callin'!"
Before Natalie Cole got all dignified and jazzy, she was a soul singer. This song is a fan favorite where she talks about her man helping with groceries, the yard, and "you know, payin' the bills."
Best line: "I could have given our love a chance to grow but no, I had to challenge it and be heard. Let me tell you something -- that female liberation stuff, I don't know, sometimes I don't think its worth it... and... I'm really feeling... feeling kind of bad y'all."
"Hello? May I speak to Barbara? Barbara, this is Shirley...” You knew when you heard that line this was gonna be some serious sh*t. "Woman to Woman" goes down in history as one of the best sistah girl ballads of all time.
Best line: "The man you're in love with -- he's mine! From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet!"
Millie Jackson is the empress of sistah girl songs. Mama will talk her way through a ballad, telling you a whole damn story -- and for some reason you just know she talks this way to all her menz. There are so many to choose from like "If You're Not Back My Monday," "Never Change Loves In The Middle of The Night," and "Young Man, Older Woman." However, "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Wanna Be Right)" is the classic!
Best line: “The sweetest thing about the whole situation is… the fact that when you go to the Laundromat, you don’t have to wash nobody’s funky draws but your own!”
Honorable mentions: "The Boy is Mine" by Monica and Brandy, "Runaway Love" by Linda Clifford, "As We Lay" by Shirley Murdock, "I'm Goin' Down" by Rose Royce, "Girlfriend" by Pebbles, "From His Woman To You" by Barbara Mason, "I'm A Woman" by Koko Taylor (for the old-old-old school folk!)
I know you are saying, "Who the hell is Luke Cage? A porn star?" Well, Luke Cage is one of the first black superheros to star in a comic book series. His first comic was Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 in 1972. Cage's story is a Harlem native who was unjustly sent to prison. To get parole he endured an experimental procedure which gave him super powers such as enhanced muscle and titanium-hard skin.
Cage was written and creator by white writers, which came with its controversy. The character came about during the blaxploitation period and some argued he was too much of a stereotype in his thug appearance and "jive" talk. One of his catch phrases were, "Sweet Christmas!"
In 2008, Mr. Cage is getting a makeover by African-American comic book artist Shawn Martinbrough. Marvel is in the beginning stages of reproducing the Luke Cage series for approximately 4 - 6 issues, which will take place in 1930s Harlem. There is also talk of Luke Cage becoming a feature film in 2009.
Martinbrough is the author of How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling and in 2007 he was named one of the year's 100 Black Men in America. He has been published by DC Comics, Vertigo and Marvel Comics, illustrating stories from Batman to X-Men.
People are shocked to hear that black folks work in the comic book industry -- so be sure to show your support and check out the two links below:
Can I tell you how good it is to read a "tell-all" by someone who is an actual writer? Kim Osorio's Straight from the Source is probably the first book I've read about one person's experience in hip-hop that was well-written, engaging, not exploitative, and had a message. In addition, as a story (outside of hip-hop) I would put Straight from the Source on the same level as the New York Times best-sellingMan in the Middle by John Amaechi -- she managed to tell a solid story that anyone can relate to.
After reading her book from cover to cover, I sat down with the first and only editor-in-chief of TheSource for The Advocate. Osorio offers excellent insight on sexism, homophobia, and how her experience transcends all groups.
The 68 year-old rock 'n soul icon is currently on tour and reportedly selling out divas twenty years her junior, like Madonna and Janet (both are suffering health problems -- and Ms. Nutbush hasn't canceled a show in about 30 years!). In a recent interview with USA Today, Anna Mae opened up about working with Beyonce, admitting she wasn't ready for the February Grammy performance, and being shocked how so many people were receptive to her. She said, "It felt good to be there. People said, 'You looked better than Beyoncé.' Well, that's not possible. It's nice that young people hold me up as a model.'"
However, when asked about Aretha Franklin, who was plucked that Tina Turner was labeled "the queen," she said, "I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé, however, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy." -- Tina decided to let loose. For all of my music gurus, you know, out of Aretha's long career, it is rare that any artists comment on her legendary stank attitude.
"Aretha has always been like that. We've always accepted that from her. She's the queen of soul, and I'm the queen of rock 'n' roll. There were so many kings and queens there that night. Her ego must be so big to think she was the only one." Tina Turner laughs. "That's how queens are!"
I know Patti, Gladys, Chaka, Diana, Natalie, Jennifer Hudson (remember Re-Re didn't want J-Hud playing her in a movie -- she wanted Halle Berry!) and many others have their hands in the air and singing a church hymn in harmony. Well, we all know Diana can't harmonize -- but you get the point!
When asked about Ike "Eat the cake Anna Mae!" Turner's passing, which she has never responded to, Tina replied:
"It meant nothing to me," she says. "He had been dead to me for 20 years."