Founder at Extraordinary Ideas. Senior Editor at The Root.
Contributor, consultant, and friendly neighborhood NDA signee everywhere else.


‘I Don’t Like To Be Comfortable’: After Conquering Music, Anderson .Paak Has NxWorries

What do you give the man who has everything?

From Grammy Awards to an elusive Dr. Dre co-sign to an extremely lucrative Las Vegas residency, Anderson .Paak—born Brandon Paak Anderson—seemingly has it all. But when you have a limitless well of gifts to draw from, it’s abundantly clear that the Oxnard, Calif., native has barely scratched the surface of his potential. So why not “Leave the Door Open” for it?

Not Like This, Frank

Once Frank’s set began—which is still up for dispute depending upon who you ask—instead of him actually taking the stage, we were treated to what looked like a colonoscopy: cramped, chaotic visuals that could easily be mistaken for either deleted scenes from The Blair Witch Project or a Minecraft sex tape. Apparently, it was supposed to be a replication of his creative process—Frank hunched over the mic in the studio swarmed by musicians and pissed-off fans screaming, “This is a terrible fucking idea!”—but instead, all we got was a shitty mini-doc on how to get vertigo at Coachella. Fun times!

Review: The Woman King Is the Epic Action Film Black Women Deserve

Black women have always been at the forefront of the movement. From the tireless efforts of civil rights icon Ella Baker; to the unsung contributions of Coretta Scott King, who railed against racial injustice through song, fundraising, and other means; to other heroines like Daisy Bates or the astonishing work that WNBA players continue to put in today; Black women have proven time and time and time again that when they lead, we all win.

Much Like Biz Markie, Showtime's All Up in the Biz Is Larger Than Life

In the closing moments of Showtime’s moving All Up in the Biz documentary, a tearful Big Daddy Kane—who’s universally revered for his stoic nature and unwavering cool—ponders a life that never was thanks to the intervention of hip-hop’s court jester: the diabolical Biz Markie. And while countless others take turns throughout the film reflecting on their own rapport with a man who meant much more to them than “Just a Friend,” one can’t help but wonder if hip-hop itself would pose the same question if offered the opportunity to do so.

‘When You Write Music History, You Can’t Leave Us Out’: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Stake Their Claim as Music Royalty

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are kind of a big deal.

In the decades since Harris’ humble beginnings as the 16-year-old secret weapon behind the Minneapolis-based funk outfit Mind & Matter, the legendary production duo has accrued over 100 platinum certifications, 16 Billboard Hot 100 number ones (and counting), five Grammys, a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, countless other awards, and the unwavering respect and adulation of their peers.

Peacock's Bel-Air Is the Game Changer Black Hollywood Deserves

Let’s get this out the way now: 'Bel-Air' is not 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'; nor does it aspire to be. To reinforce that distinction, Peacock bills its audacious reboot as a “contemporary dramatic reimagining of the beloved and culture-defining 90s sitcom”—and that description couldn’t be more accurate. While the show’s original incarnation chronicled Will’s collision course with Black opulence through the lens of boundless hijinks and hilarity, Bel-Air is decidedly much darker; firmly entrenched in the conflicts and emotions of our modern world while still honoring the spirit and innovation of its predecessor. So while you won’t see Carlton Banks embarrassing our ancestors to Tom Jones, you will see him still grapple with his identity and explore what it means to be Black through the prism of white kids who “don’t see color.”

The Harder They Fall Breathes New Life Into the American Western Genre With Its Stylish Take on the Old West

While this declaration is accompanied by the disclaimer that yes, "The Harder They Fall" is a fictionalized work of art, this prelude serves as a timely reminder that while Jeymes Samuel’s first foray into feature film is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before—though there are not-so-subtle nods to its forefathers like 1993’s Posse and the groundbreaking Buck and the Preacher—it’s steeped in the exact type of lore that historians either conveniently whitewash or blatantly dismiss.

Review: With jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, Directors Coodie and Chike Take Us Inside the Mind of a Tortured Genius

This three-part documentary does a masterful job of contextualizing Kanye’s indelible impact on pop culture, while adding a new dimension to the uncharted layers of his enigmatic lore. However, it’s up to you to decide—in light of his increasingly disturbing behavior in recent years—if this foray into undeniable genius is too little, too late to salvage what’s left of the Grammy Award-winning artist’s legacy.

I Kept Hearing My Masculinity Was Under Attack by the Gay Agenda, So I Went to Pride to Test This Theory

I recall being both appalled and aghast upon waking up the next morning to this horrifying news and wishing there was something—anything—I could do to alleviate the anguish and fear that threatened to unravel so many of my friends. But in my efforts to be supportive, I also realized that I was operating out of sympathy instead of empathy—much like white folks do when they feign concern for our well-being but aren’t willing to forfeit their privilege—and got called out for it.

In Its Efforts to Make Itself a More Inclusive Sport, NASCAR Has Failed Already

When we say this among ourselves, the implication is understood. But since we now live in a world rife with brand spanking new “allies,” that phrase likely requires an explanation.

Racism is exhausting, which, in turn, means white people are inherently exhausting too. Every single day of our lives, we’re either exposed to racism, recovering from it or suffering from the paranoia and anxiety of waiting for it to inevitably resurface.

On the Record: Russell Simmons Finally Faces the Music, But He Shouldn't Be the Only One Listening

My hope is that On the Record wakes our community up, but more specifically, that it inspires black men to assess our roles as active participants in the destruction of black women. To reflect on our mistakes, hold ourselves accountable and challenge each other to elevate our queens instead of constantly tearing them down or remaining indifferent to their plight. To that end, it’s equally important that we emerge from the shadows and provide the same unwavering public support that we’ve received throughout our lives as though it’s our birthright.
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