Tragedy: They’ve Fallen And They Can’t Get Up

Through the course of American history, we the people have witnessed some great triumph. We’ve witnessed athletic feats that made us marvel in awe, and we’ve witnessed deft political maneuvering that allowed us to dare to dream of a brighter future. There lives a place where no dreams are deferred but thrive and persist.


We have bombed atomically. Socrates philosophies and high prophesies could NOT define how we’d drop these mockers and lyrically perform armed robberies. YES. It is enough to make you feel like you could flee…with the lottery.


And theeeeeen, there’s all this other sh*t. You see, without tragedy, there is no triumph. And lucky for us, there are more than enough people who are willing to tragically go where no man has gone before, except that’s not true at all since generally, letting men go where “no” man has gone before is usually what starts the tragedy in the first place, leading to th….SERIOUSLY WHY IN THE F*CK DOES OMAROSA HAVE A SHOW…the downward spiral of the funnel cloud in the second. What am I talking about? Glad you asked.

You see, in pop culture, we’ve witnessed folks who have taken the plunge so that the rest of us at least know what f*cked the f*ck up looks like. Who you ask?


1. Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill was the woman every man wanted and the woman every woman wanted to be like. She was hot. She could sing and she could rap better than most dudes. She could act and she had beautiful skin and hair. Le sigh. Then she met a Marley and got welcomed to Jamrock and 17 children and two bongs later, Lauryn Hill is calling the Pope a child molester IN HIS HOUSE. She releases The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, an album that redefines…something (I was never a huge fan)…and wins beaucoup Grammys and the respect of the world only to disappear and then reappear looking like Raggedy Ann’s stund double with a guitar and one chord. She could have been iconic. Now she’s the posterchild for what happens when you get in cahoots with a Marley. Nas, I’m looking at you. Glasses.

2. Maia Campbell

Hands down, Maia Campbell was one of the baddest chicks to EVER walk the planet. During the 90s she was the default baddest chick everywhere. Slightly hood with a face a thug and a banker could love. Even despite her myriad attempts to tank her own career through movies (Trippin’ - though I loved it and own it), the short lived TV show South Central, and LL Cool J’s In The House, nothing could stop her fineness. That is except crack. Apparently crack can f*ck  your couch proper. She went from de facto prom queen to the chick in the car eating Cheetos coming straight from the ‘hood. Nobody wants to bone her anymore, which is sad because for a solid 7 years, she’s the one chick that everybody wanted for some birthday sex. And no, there is no good reason to actually own Jeremih’s album.

3. DMX

I kind of view him as the combo male equivalent of Maia Campbell and Lauryn Hill. All the musical ability in the world derailed by crack and his own inner demons.

4. Tupac

He dead. Tragedy.

5. Lauren London

This one hurts for real. So pretty. So young. So much potential to be so pretty so young. Then she becomes stop number 3 on the Lil Wayne Baby Batter Drop Off Express and made everybody stop and say, “wait, she boned Lil Wayne?!?! On purpose?” I can’t even lie. I lost so much respect for her that I can’t even watch the movie ATL the same anymore. You kilt me dead, New-New. You kilt me dead. Really she’s only a tragedy because she’s pretty. If she looked like Precious, I’d probably hi-five her and say good job.

Shots. Fired.

6. Martin Lawrence

America’s funniest man on TV to brandishing a strap and slapping an old woman on the corner of Florence and Normandie in South Central.


He dead too, y’all.

Anyway, those are just a few folks that came to mind who qualify for tragedy status. Good folks of VSB, who else qualifies? Who fell from grace…and stayed down? Who?



the dream team

point guard: zoe saldana


narrowly beats out circa “mo money” stacey dash for the starting point guard spot off the strength of her performance on mtv’s punk’d four years ago (click me!). i need some feistiness and loyalty out of my floor general, and that episode proves she has more than enough heart and iwishan*ggawouldness to captain a team

shooting guard: (pre-whatever the hell she’s been publicly diagnosed with) maia campbell


put it this way: there’s a reason why “trippin”, a flick which is basically what would happen if  tvone produced a soft p*rn afterschool special, is one of my favorite movies. well, that and the gratuitous nudity

small forward: (post monster’s ball, pre-baby) halle berry


makes the team even though i realize that putting halle berry on any top five list in 2009 is so cliche and unimaginative that even tyler perry would be like “damn. where the hell is the freakin nuance??” if he read this.

power forward: kenya moore


i’m convinced that her only purpose on earth is to show everybody how stupid atheists are because her presence is concrete proof that God exists¹

center: yaya dacosta


although i was tempted to put the vsb’s favorite cp-3, candace parker, on the roster because it might not be a bad thing to have at least one person who can actually play basketball on your basketball team, yaya prevails…even though i’m not even 100 percent certain she’s still alive

people of, its your turn. imagine that you and every entertainer or politician or athlete or excessively articulate black blogger from pittsburgh or whoever you’ve ever been attracted to is all of a sudden available, and pick your dream team, your all-time pop culture starting five

remember, time doesn’t matter. if you want to pick a post-brown sugar mos def, a pre-penitentiary t.i., or a pre-penitent mary magdalene, go right ahead.

the only caveat is that you have to name people that someone other than you has actually heard of, regardless of how tempted you might be to include the banging-ass border’s barista you met last week.

the carpet is yours and sh*t

¹i know. i know. i know. this statement was gayer than the easter bunny. blame it on the g-20

—the champ