Feeling Bad For Bobby, and More Thoughts About Whitney Houston’s Funeral

1. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way I react when hearing about a person dying. None whatsoever. It’s completely unpredictable, completely arbitrary, and completely dependent on… whatever the hell it’s dependent on. I have absolutely no clue, and I’ve stopped trying to figure it out. There have been times when a one paragraph long news story about some random area murder induced tears and haunted me for weeks, and other times when family members have passed and the only time I got worked up was when I forced myself to get worked up because I felt bad that I hadn’t.

This “reaction unpredictability” extends to celebrities as well. I felt nothing when Michael Jackson — a person who I was a huge fan of — died, but the deaths of Amy Winehouse — a person I was “eh” about — and Patrice O’Neal still resonate with me. I still can’t listen to “Rehab” or watch “Elephant in The Room” without getting chills.

Knowing how unpredictable I can be about this should make me immune to surprise. I mean, If I’m capable of any reaction, there shouldn’t be a reaction that surprises me. Despite this, I was (and still am) surprised at how affected I was by the news of Whitney Houston’s death (When first clicking the TMZ link to the news of her death, I literally stared at my monitor with my mouth agape for two minutes and could see my heart beating through my shirt) and how interested I was in the goings-on (and the public’s feelings about the goings-on) of her funeral.

Although I wasn’t able to catch the first hour and a half or so (I started watching when Stevie Wonder was singing), I sat there captivated like I was watching the 4th quarter of game seven of the NBA finals. And, as if this captivation wasn’t enough, I logged on to Twitter and Facebook to basically give myself a sensory overload.

I don’t know what any of this means, or why I even felt the need to share it. I don’t know. I do know that it’s been (over) a week and I’m still surprised that I still don’t feel any different.

2. There have been myriad different accounts of the events that led to Bobby Brown leaving (or getting kicked out of) Whitney’s funeral, so I won’t go into any of them. I will say, though, that I feel worse for him than for anyone else who was in Whitney’s life. Losing your ex-wife (a woman I’m sure he still loved and may have still been in love with) is bad enough, but being the popular scapegoat for the decades-long spiral leading to her early death has to be a bitch of a burden to carry. History will not look kindly on him. Regardless of what he does for the rest of his life, his primary legacy will be that he, to put it bluntly, killed Whitney Houston.

Now, whether this legacy is actually fair is another question. We assume that Bobby was the bad influence, but while Whitney was America’s Sweetheart, she wasn’t exactly an angel herself. Also, as influential as Clive Davis was reported to be in her life, who’s to say that he didn’t have a hand in her downfall?

Obviously, this is all speculation. None of us know exactly what led to Whitney’s substance abuse problems. And, since none of us know, perhaps we should place a collective moratorium on “Blame Bobby.”

3. I happened to be at my parent’s house when the funeral was being aired. When R.Kelly came to the podium, all three of us said “Wait. Is that R.Kelly???” at the exact same time. No bullsh*t.

And (in my best Forrest Gump voice), “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

4. I know many people had an issue with some of the “So, America, make sure you’re recording so you can see how these exotic-ass Negros celebrate the dead” -ey comments from some of the non-black members of the news media covering the event. In particular, Piers Morgan sounded like he was covering at an event at Jurassic Park.

I didn’t have a problem with this, though. I mean, aside from random Nike commercials and Tyler Perry movies (which white people don’t watch anyway), this probably was the first time many of them had seen a homegoing at a black baptist church, and I think most of the non-white reporters found the proper mix of reverence, respect, and curiosity.

Also, aside from the celebrities involved, Whitney’s ceremony wasn’t all that atypical. Seriously, if you substituted “random white co-worker who seems out of place but makes up for it with a poignant speech” for “Kevin Costner,” “aunt who does her thing on the organ even though she tends to forget words to certain songs” for “Stevie Wonder,” and “neighborhood family who no one wants to fight because there’s like 25737848 of those motherf*ckers and you know if you fight one, you’ll have to fight them all” for “The Winans,” this funeral was probably exactly like any other baptist funeral any one reading this has ever been to.

5. I’m not sure if the fact that I simultaneously “experienced” the funeral with over a thousand others on Twitter — all with their own running commentary about the event — was a good or a bad thing. Actually, I’m pretty certain it’s neither. It’s not disrespectful or distant or progressive or indicative of anything, either. It just is. That’s just the way we deal with things today. While other generations had their own forms of collective consumption, we just do it in real time.

6. So, ever since a certain post I wrote a few weeks ago, I’ve been more willing to let certain people take a look at articles I write before I submit them, just in case they pick up on something that I may have missed. Don’t fret. You’re not going to get a neutered Champ or anything. This is something I’ve always done. Just do it a little more often now.

Anyway, last Friday, I let one of these friends see an article I wrote for Ebony about Chris Brown. That article contained a somewhat off-color joke about Tyler Perry. Her response:

“I dont usually discourage Tyler Perry jabs, but this m**therf**er just flew Whitney Houston’s body to her family in his private jet. HE ALWAYS DOES THIS SH*T. Like, whenever I want to take a shot at him, he adopts some orphan or saves a kitten or some sh*t and makes me feel bad afterwards. Anyway, you should probably leave that out.”

I (reluctantly) listened.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) 

***Oh, check out the Chris Brown piece I just referenced — “The (Biggest) Problem with Chris Brown isn’t Chris Brown” — if you get a chance. (#teambreezy, beware)***

Also, don’t forget about the VSB/Urban Cusp discussion on Black Identity & Culture in Mass Media panel coming up on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 from 6-8PM at the Washington Post Buildling. It’s going to be a dope conversation, I promise. Plus you can hang with Panama Jackson and throw things at people. It’s free and food will be provided. Not like half chickens or nothing, but finger foods and whatnot. See you there. Peep the flyer below.

mercy, mercy, me…please?: the four cruelest things women consistently do to men

cruel kerry

its a conspiracy. a c-o-n-spiracy.

you see, bobby brown was a prophet, a modern day nostradamus sent from God to warn us all of the merciless nature of the typical woman with his genius “don’t be cruel“. realizing this, the national council of cruel women siced a seemingly sweet-hearted whitney houston on him, stringing him out and making him lose sight of and forget his earthly purpose.

the very smart brothas at verysmartbrothas.com haven’t forgotten, though. taking the torch from grand minister brown, here’s the four cruelest things women consistently do to men

1. keeping friend-zoned guys around

not only are most women aware of the hapless friends they have who are patiently hoping for a never occurring opening, they have no problem with taking advantage of him once he’s in place…and giving him just enough of a tease of a potential opening to keep him there.

there are myriad ways that they do this, but my favorite is the wistfully nonchalant “i wish there were more guys were like you. why can’t i find a good man?” they’ll utter to the emasculated cat driving them to ikea so she can replace the bed her maintenance man just helped her break the night before

bastards.

2. asking loaded questions with no right answers

from “do you think i’m gaining weight?” to “do you find her attractive?”, women love asking men unanswerable questions more than fat asians love pumas. at this point, i either answer by repeating the question “why? do you think you’re gaining weight?” or just saying “jello”

3. flirting with happily attached men

seriously, i really think that they have clandestine national meetings underneath williams sonoma’s every other weekend to discuss which one of us are in a relationship (“at approximately 4:26 eastern standard time last sunday afternoon, james jackson of albany, new york proposed to his longtime girlfriend“), decide when and how exactly to attack (“he’s particularly vulnerable between 12:25 and 12:50 wednesday afternoons right before he has his lunch“), and delegate who’s going to be leading the charge (“kim, since he has a thing for leggy women and is particular about his cologne, we’re gonna need you to slide up to him in line at wendy’s this week and compliment his new kenneth cole black. he also has a thing for business women, so make sure to wear your bangingest pants suit. a slight french accent would be cool too, since he’s infatuated with haitian women“)

while this is extremely lecherous, it’s nowhere as bad as…

4. “the boyfriend”

the boyfriend is the name for the scenario that occurs when a man has spent an entire night talking to, laughing and dancing with, and getting to know a seemingly unbelievably compatible woman, only to be hit with the “hey, what type of movies do you like? i’m really into p*rn, tarentino flicks, scorsese, and old nba highlight films. i love spielberg  sometimes too, but not as much as my boyfriend does” right before he’s about to ask for her number.

bastards.

fellas, i know i’m missing a few. do you have any more examples of relentless cruelness you’d like to share? also, ladies, i need to know: why are you all so damn cruel? is it our fault, or did God just make you that way? is it nature, nurture, or the alcohol?

explain yourselves and sh*t

—the champ

On Dem Thangs: 4 Crackheads That Don’t Get Enough Credit.

crackWe all know that crack kills.

And that it kills your brain cells.

The thing is, some of the biggest contributors to pop culture and society have been crackheads.  Now of course, the term “contributors to society” can be interpreted many different ways, but interpretation, beauty, and thickness are all in the eye of the beholder.

Opinions are like that too.  For instance, that new Jay-Z?  Garbage.  But some other person may hear some splendorous musical arrangement instead.

But back to the point: crackheads.

The other day on my trip out of town for vacation, my girlfriend and I had a conversation about people who don’t get enough credit.  I started with Teddy Riley as somebody who’s managed to invent and re-invent himself over and over again over the past 2 decades and has produced some of the biggest albums (Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel, Michael Jackson Dangerous, Guy’s albums, etc.) and spearheaded the New Jack Swing movement in hip-hop/r&b.  But not only did Teddy Riley do great work, he also mentored and inspired some other greats – created a certain family tree, if you will.  And one particular part of that family tree lead me to 4 crackheads that don’t get enough credit.  Follow me. Continue reading

There You Go Telling Me No Again.

For today’s edition of Friday Fun I thought I’d really have fun with this.  Two Friday’s ago we had a freestyle battle and that was entertaining but everybody doesn’t have rap skills.  But you know what everybody does have?

An opinion.  Let us begin.

By now, most of you realize that I’m a big music person.  I litter posts with numerous musical references and wonder who will pick them up.  I have named a good percentage of each of my posts using song titles.  And it seems that a good majority of our commenters (and probably lurkers alike..we’ll test this today) have an affinity for music.  My affinity for music has led to some of the most climactic debates of all time.  On my old blog I actually decided to take on the age old question of:

What’s the best Jodeci song of all time?

I took that question to the streets of DC and got all kinds of responses.  I think that “Freek-N-U” is the best Jodeci song of all time but I got nearly every song in their catalog at least once though I’m pretty sure that “Come and Talk To Me” prevailed (though an argument could be made for any of the first 6 songs on Diary of A Mad Band).  I’d actually like your take on that, but that’s not what today’s debate is going to be about.

Oh no.  We’re going to Debo that one and take it a step further.  You see, The Champ and I have decided to make this here blog relationship-centric.  And despite the myriad explanations of us gangsta’s on this site about how we refuse to pander to the p***y, the fact is, 99 percent of us are tricking, and the other 1 percent doesn’t even realize it.  By the way, there’s a 100 percent margin of error on that last statistic.

Even though me and the rest of the men on this site are some straight G’s, the R&B world has been littered with men who were much less than G’s – men who would get down on bended knee when their river ran dry and proclaimed that they’d make love to you, how you want them too.  Hell, they’d even hold you tight, all through the night.

You know who I’m talking about – the begging arse ninjas who couldn’t help but to give women the sun, the rain, the stars, the moon, and the mountains.  Which led me to this question:

Who was the most begging arse ninja out there?

The easy money is on Keith Sweat but truly, I’m not sure if that’s accurate.  Babyface was one begging mofo.  Hell, do you REMEMBER the words to the song “Ready or Not”?  Or what about “When Can I See You Again?”

Aaron Hall?  He was a beggar too.  Coincidentally, he begged R. Kelly for his style back but R. Kelly just pissed on him.

Zing!

Johnny Gill?  Gay, but a beggar nonetheless.  Hell, New Edition were all some begging dudes.  Is this the end?  Yes Ralph, it was.

To tell the truth, the entire male R&B genre of the late 80’s and early 90’s was an ode to men who just couldn’t get enough of that good lovin’ and didn’t care who knew about it.  Sensitivity, anyone?

So there it is ladies and gentlemen, for today’s edition of Friday Fun, who was the most begging arse singer?  Lay out the argument.  All of you are music aficionados today.  Put some Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam on your iPod, max and relax, tap into your music selection of the glory years and put somebody on blast.

Dom dom didday!

And while we’re at it…what IS the best Jodeci song?

I fully expect lurkers to chime in today.  You have an opinion.  Sharing is caring.

(And by the way, Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel is the best R&B album EVER with the only possible arguments being Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Off The Wall, though I consider them straight pop albums.  You can argue with me on this, but you will be wrong.)

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P

PS Happy 3-day weekend for those who get Columbus Day off.  Yay gov’t employment.