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It’s Official

April 27, 2011

The new site is up. Needs some tweeks but I give you all full permission to check it out, lol.

counting down

April 26, 2011

The new site/blog is almost ready. Just tweaking things now. u can preview at marknmays dot com and subscribe to the feed. Wondering if I should carry over the ancient blogger version and the ol’ LJ.

My background music is fam singing songs in Japanese. Kids already trying to harmonize.

Talk show talk tonight: Tyler Perry

April 25, 2011

(1) The success of Tyler Perry’s latest film and the upcoming film Jump the Broom
(2) Has BET really improved over the last couple of years?
(3) Are you optimistic about Comcast creating a group of new channels for minorities and Cathy Hughes possibly purchasing Direct TV?

Also we’ll have correspondent John Rogers talking about his friendship with recently deceased violinist Billy Bang and special guest Nathan Haddox talking about the difficulties of promoting and presenting reggae shows in Nashville.

Join Mark Mays, William Jenkins, Mike Harris and Ron Wynn for Freestyle from 6-7 pm CST on WFSK, 88.1FM, also and iTunes college radio (88.1FM)

Why I Don’t Post More Pics of the Kids

April 25, 2011

I don’t post a ton of pictures of my children on the Internet. I know for some of you who read (or used to read) this blog, this is a godsend. I often found myself, and find myself, feigning interest at seeing pictures of the offspring of others.

Yet, I realize, as a shuffle through these streets, these malls, these casual dining restaurants, that my children inspire elderly women to offer them money. Shopkeeps call their employees to gawk at them. Young women in the park exclaim (actual quote) “They look just like the catalogue!”

Some of this is simply a matter of the exoticism of the mixed race child, or how mixed race children are exoticisized, if you prefer the race theory version of the tale. I will agree with you all, my kids are pretty damn cute.

Generally though, if you want proof, you’ll have to happen upon us at a soccer game or some such. there are lots of people who glow visibly when our kids pass by, objects for admiration. Not everyone is so charmed. Psychick is extremely uncomfortable with the prospect of their pictures being on the net, not just because of the bizarre, ready for Nightline perv, but because of the political climate.

People are getting blasted in the dome for what they believe, the things they hold to be true, for who they are or whom they love. We’ve seen this throughout our history of course, and Psychick and I realize we belong to a particular class (classes, really) that have borne the brunt of that kind of abuse.

Fundamentalists (not just religious fundamentalists) are of a similar stripe. When events appear to conspire in a threat to their way of life, they seek the company of like-minded folks to form a bulwark against their imagined enemies. Sometimes members of those groups feel emboldened to strike out at those enemies. You can pick and choose from any number of examples to suit your ideological bent.

There need not be an associated group, organized for any purpose, either. At times, the “lone nut” will suffice. So, we err on the side of caution.

Tyler Perry vs Spike Lee: Round 2 – And Perry Comes Out Swinging Wildly!

April 20, 2011

So, Spike finally got under Perry’s skin, or at least Perry couldn’t hold back any longer. Today Perry told reporters that Spike can “go straight to hell!” Pretty strong stuff for a spiritual guy like Perry.

My instincts, informed by working in poli-tricks and journalism, makes me think his outburst is a little too well timed, given that he’s on a press junket with a movie to come out. It’s the only way a smart businessman like Perry stands to gain from such a statement.

Of course the invective is the pull-quote, but Perry has gone on to explain further, arguing that the dispute between he and Lee is another example of Black people battling like crabs in a barrel, and – in a shocking expression of ignorance of other ethnics in the media controversy – that no other ethnicities have these kinds of squabbles (he also compared himself to W.E.B. Du Bois, but we’ll let that one slide for now).

Let’s take a step back and look at what Spike actually said to set off the debate in a 2009 interview with Black Enterprise magazine.

“We’ve had this discussion back and forth. When John Singleton [made Boyz in the Hood], people came out to see it. But when he did ‘Rosewood,’ nobody showed up. So a lot of this is on us! You vote with your pocketbook, your wallet. You vote with your time sitting in front of the idiot box, and [Tyler Perry] has a huge audience. We shouldn’t think that Tyler Perry is going to make the same film that I am going to make, or that John Singleton or my cousin Malcolm Lee [would make]. As African-Americans, we’re not one monolithic group, so there is room for all of that. But at the same time, for me, the imaging is troubling and it harkens back to ‘Amos n’ Andy.’”

It sounds like a reasonable, respectful observation, with Spike expressing an opinion that he isn’t alone in holding. Read what a regular movie goer said when speaking about Perry to The Denver Post:

“I wonder about intentionality,” began another woman sitting in a circle of 45 attendees. “I don’t know, for instance, what Tyler Perry is thinking when he’s portraying Madea. But one thing I think is that there has been this presence that has been very influential in his life — African-American women that have been strong, positive and quite humorous.

“And I think he’s taken that to a level that may ultimately undermine the very richness of what he got from the culture.”

More nuanced than Spike, but without the director’s gift for pithiness.

The debate about media representations of African-Americans by African-Americans has been going on long before Perry put on fake breasts. Aside from being concerned about Amos ‘n Andy, Black folks have been debating for years about ‘hood movies, Blaxploitation, and various subgenres of rap, just ticking off a few. While Perry clearly recognizes this given his comparisons of his feud with Lee to that between Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, he doesn’t seem to get it.

DuBois thought art by Negroes should serve to uplift the race; art as propaganda. Lee and Perry both seem ambivalent about the idea judging from their comments, though Lee leans DuBois’ way. Perry sees his art as a more populist version of uplift, in which he enlightens by beaming feel-good melodramas to the masses. If the means to that end call for broad humor and sassy drag, so be it. Whatever works.

Neither way is “right” or “wrong” as they are philosophies of art. Then the proper response is not “go to hell” or “stop complaining since I’m making money,” but “maybe Spike and his message could reach more people by making movies that more people want to see, laugh a little.”

Some think the disagreement between the two auteur is counterproductive. I don’t. It’s healthy. Perry’s feelings may be hurt, but neither he nor his bank account will be any poorer. Lee’s point – his main point – that ultimately the kinds of Black experiences we see on screen are largely determined by what kinds of films we pay to see, will be advanced. The decades old discussion will continue.

April 19, 2011

Pusha-T vid. New Kanye project on GOOD music label. Your basic “I used to sell crack now I’m a hot rapper” tale, but with West’s sheen applied (and a bit of his cadence as well. Ghost written?)

Trump’s Candidacy a Gift . . . to reporters

April 19, 2011

Donald Trump’s interest in moving to the White House in 2012 is a journalist’s dream. Apparently his interest is also a Republican nightmare. The camera hog come entrepreneur brings encyclopedia sized history of past foibles and faux pas, and the promise of many more to come.

His interest in President Obama’s birth certificate is supposed to align him with budget conscious Tea Partiers, as does his switch from pro-choice to wanting to restrict a woman’s right to choose. He seems to be competing with Sarah Palin as the reality TV candidate.

The only competition where he’s leading, however, is in stories published about him. A Google news search on Trump for the last month returned over 7,000 mentions, with just over 6 thousand for Palin and 5 thousand for Romney.

The GOP leadership in the House has been critical of Trump, as have local leadership in New Hampshire and Iowa. In opinion poll snapshots, Trump is beaten by more serious candidates in his chosen party and President Obama.

So why does Trump merit all the attention? His hair. His ex-wives. His ego. He enjoys the media attention as much as the media enjoys entertaining him, especially the TV journalists. I imagine they’re all looking for their Couric/Palin moment, where they ask the tough question that gets replayed over and over.

I don’t think the press will be able to forge Trump into a serious candidate. His influence on the outcome of the Presidential election will only go as far as his wallet and attention span can carry him, and when he doesn’t see a positive outcome for him (which will mean people are no longer hanging on his every word) he’ll bow out and offer a grandstanding hand of support to the front runner.

Until then, if journalists have anything to do with it, he’s here to stay.


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