August 29, 2012
Dear Lupe,

Dear Lupe:

I know the last few days have been a flurry of attention and activity for you. With the debut of the “Bitch Bad” video, a song I’m certain you believe in, came a lot of attention I’m not so certain you or your team bargained for.  Unfortunately, I’m part of that attention. But, I hope that what I will share with you is not harmful to you in any way, or makes you feel like I’m yet another disconnected critic (shoutout to Marc Hogan and Brandon Soderberg).

First, the hook of “Bitch Bad” makes it really hard for me to listen to the rest of the song. Because, you see, Lupe, the idea that there’s a level of respectability that Black women must adhere to is super problematic. This move to rank Black womanhood, you may be most familiar with, is reflected in the Mammy/ Jezebel/ Sapphire construct. It is harmful and flattens the identity of Black women by erasing our individual stories and experiences.With “Bitch Bad,” your goal is to encourage folks to rethink their relationships with the B Word, and that’s peace. But instead you replaced one hierarchy with another, which doesn’t do much to expand consciousness especially when the basic humanity of Black folks worldwide is constantly in question or outright ignored.

With “Bitch Bad,” your goal is to encourage folks to rethink their relationships with the B Word, and that’s peace. But instead you replaced one hierarchy with another, which doesn’t do much to expand consciousness especially when the basic humanity of Black folks worldwide is constantly in question or outright ignored.

For the sakeof brevity, you managed to oversimplify a complex message with “Bitch Bad,” which isn’t to say that you failed to raise good points or even provoke thought. Perhaps you are unaware, but the overall tone of the song reveals your attempt to uplift Black womanhood when nobody elected you to do that. It is not okay to be that dude by virtue of the fact that so much of our identity as black women (respectability ranking included), is determined by people who do not belong to our group, which includes Black queer-identified women, Black transgender women, and Black girl-children.

I believe that in order to truly encourage growth and to uplift Black women, it is imperative that Black men recognize when they are a part of the oppression that hinders and crushes us, because it is the same oppression that hinders and crushes Black men, absolutely.

I believe that in order to truly encourage growth and to uplift Black women, it is imperative that Black men recognize when they are a part of the oppression that hinders and crushes us, because it is the same oppression that hinders and crushes Black men, absolutely.

It all comes to a head when a brotha who feels lesser than, thanks to larger society, polices the body of a sista, tells his daughter that her worth lies primarily between her legs and not between her ears, or stands idly by when a sista is harassed in the street. This demonstrates that the harm done to us, is typically in the form of microagressions, which need to be dealt with by Black men as well. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture backed by a major record label budget, Lupe. It can be as simple as recognizing that your own misogyny and sexism, albeit well intended or not, has left you to instruct Black women in who and how they should be.

In verse 2 of “Bitch Bad,” you talk about the malleable minds of little Black girls. Lupe, I would love to know if you recognize how malleable the minds of your own listeners are. That is, some youngin’ might find themselves telling folks that the key to Black liberation is to stop using the word bitch, and… We know that isn’t it. Are you having conversations with folks who don’t have negative critiques of “Bitch Bad”? Has it occurred to you at all that this is a teaching moment for you as an artist and not just folks who’re out here consuming the media you create?

Aside from the song, I have one question about the video: Did neither you nor your video director believe that folks would see Nicki Minaj during Act II of the video? Namely, the treatment for “Beez in The Trap”? I know you had a kerfuffle with the Barbz about this imagery. You asked some questions about Nicki, were answered by some of her fans, and eventually shared those answers with the rest of us. But, Lupe, people like Nicki Minaj for whatever reasons they feel and will continue to buy, sing and be in love with her music. They will emulate her aesthetic, as she is a commodity of Hip Hop music as well as pop music. So are you. Your director’s singling out of mainstream Hip Hop was not useful in the context of liberating and/ or uplifting folks, especially when you have a major label distribution deal. I’m not certain, at all, that you recognize your own hand in the same profitable market that perpetuates the imagery that “Bitch Bad” attempts to analyze.

Your director’s singling out of mainstream Hip Hop was not useful in the context of liberating and/ or uplifting folks, especially when you have a major label distribution deal. I’m not certain, at all, that you recognize your own hand in the same profitable market that perpetuates the imagery that “Bitch Bad” attempts to analyze.

Finally, Lupe, you might not even read this open letter as I fathom that you’re busy working on your album promo and furthering your boycott of Spin magazine. Either way, I challenge you to get busy with the work of examining what Black women really need, beginning with the space to define and identify themselves without interference or well-intended misogyny. From anyone.

July 5, 2012
In Support of Frank Ocean

Odd Future member Frank Ocean recently revealed intimacies about his romantic past that has the media all a buzz. As he did not actually use the word Gay or BiSexual, he did reveal an intimate relationship with another man that he was in love with. While we initially planned to write out a response in support of Frank Ocean and what it could possibly mean for the urban music landscape, we then realized that there were so many great responses already out there. So Below are quotes from our favorites.  We want to encourage you to check them out and tell us your thoughts in the comments.

From TheWellVersed.com:

"When responses to that beautiful, rhythmic affirmation are “I’m not listening to his album,” I know that the “world we live in now” is still cold, heartless and afraid. Even seemingly acceptable sentiments are telling. “I don’t care, I just don’t want to hear about it,” is more a push back toward the closet door than a walk along the “higher” road where only the music matters. We would rather sing along to lies than face the real stories. If you want to know the truth, the matter IS the music." ~ Aja K Riddick

From LifeandTimes.com

You shared one of the most intimate things that ever happened to you – falling in love with someone who wasn’t brave enough to love you back. Your relieving yourself of your “secret” is as much about wanting to honestly connect as it is about exhibition. We are all made better by your decision to share publicly. ~Dream Hampton

From LATimes.com

The straightforward letter – which can be read in its entirety here – is undoubtedly the glass ceiling moment for music. Especially black music, which has long been in desperate need of a voice like Ocean’s to break the layers of homophobia. There are plenty of reasons this moment has so much weight. Too many for any single article to explore. ~Gerrick D. Kennedy

From Ebony.com

I hope that Frank Ocean doesn’t become “the gay singer,” for it would be criminally unfair for him to wear that label as so many of his musical peers and elders are sleeping with and loving same gendered persons, while selling images of hyper-heterosexuality. And I truly hope that people who were fans before don’t lose their appetite for his music. Regardless of one’s feelings on Frank Ocean the artist, I hope that this very raw look at Frank Ocean the man forces people to look beyond their fear over two penises in one bed. People must come to recognize that gay and bisexual people also have hearts, emotions, relationships that are just as significant as anyone else’s.~Jamilah Lemieux

One of the best showings of support (in our opinion) came from fellow Odd Future Member Tyler The Creator:

May 31, 2012
Good Girl Faulty

 

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"But she’s so sweet… " How do you cope when that well put-together, smart, pretty girl you’ve been crushing on for months finally gets close to you, only to become a dragon? Join your hostesses for a conversation about the Good Girl Faulty behavior pattern and persona. This episode features songs by Murs, Ghostface Killah, and Big Boi

*download this episode here

She Said OK (Main) Big Boi
Girl You Know Scarface
She Said Fate Wilson, Ludacris
Heartless Kanye West
Love Is Not Enough Yelawolf
Passing Me By The Pharcyde
Back Like That RMX (Feat Kanye West & Ne-Yo) Ghostface Killah
She’s Gone Devin The Dude
She Dont Want a Man Curren$y
Break Up (The Oj Song)Murs
Ain’t That Peculiar Oddisee

April 20, 2012
The XD Replay- Heartbreak Hotel: An Extended Stay



In this continued conversation about breakups, XD, Michael and special guest producer Lenée share stories and even discuss the bright side of breaking up: the rebound!

Back That Azz Up (feat. Mannie Fresh & Lil Wayne) Juvenile
My Papi Bought It (w/ Milan Zanotti) LastO
Ima Read ft Njena Reddd Foxxx Zebra Katz
Stay Ghostface Killah
Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauryn Hill
Come Around The Foreign Exchange
The Foreign Exchange (Nicolay & Phonte)
King Pleasure Baron
Glamour and Glitter DJ Fatha Julz
All We Do Young Jeezy
I Do (Feat. Jay-Z And Andre 3000) Young Jeezy
Slow Motion (feat. Soulja Slim) Juvenile

April 13, 2012
Free Music Fridays: Chase N. Cashe “The Heir Up There”

Sometimes finding new music is as easy as checking out whose on the line up of a show you plan to attend. That’s how I came across Chase N. Cashe.  I downloaded “The Heir Up There” (click the banner to download) last night and liked what I heard so I decided to make him our Free Music Fridays suggestion.

A special highlight to this post was my interaction with Chase on twitter last night. I appreciate his response and being attentive to my request.  Check out his song “I don’t want nothing” below which is featured on his project Gumbeaux.

Shout out to him being from Louisiana too, my home state!

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