Who’s Winning: Jay-Z Or Joe Budden?

Along with being quite possibly the only place on Earth (well, the only place on Earth outside of prison) where you might able to purchase Kevin Hart DVDs, lobster rolls, sneakers, lightly-used cocaine, and insurance all in the same day, the barbershop is one of the few places that consistently manages to at least whelm. Perhaps you wont be overwhelmed, but you won’t be underwhelmed either. While other entities sometimes have a mystique that surpasses the experience, no one ever visits a popular Black barbershop for the first time and leaves thinking “That kinda sucked. Don’t know what the big deal was.”

This experience is largely due to the fact that the barbershop’s dynamic ensures that there will be a diverse group of men—students, garbagemen, drug dealers, teachers, lawyers, bloggers, etc—of all ages. And, when you sit a diverse group of men in the same general area—with no women around—conversations happen. Interesting conversations. Conversations that you may not be able to have anywhere else.

For instance, last week the discussion was centered around the new season of Love and Hip-Hop. And by “the new season of Love and Hip-Hop” I mean “Tahiry Jose’s religion-inducing ass.” For the uninitiated, Tahiry Jose is the ex-girlfriend of B-minus-list rapper Joe Budden. She was made internet famous a couple years ago when Budden would occasionally release mundane home videos of him and Tahiry doing things like “making dinner,” “arguing about soap,” and “sitting on chairs.” In each video, though, Tahiry’s, um, assets were the protagonist, antagonist, climax, rising action, and exposition, and this exposure led to her being featured in numerous Black magazines, several videos, and now Love and Hip-Hop.

Anyway, the conversation then segued to Joe Budden’s dating history. Now, despite the fact that I’m sure there will be a few of you who are hearing Joe Budden’s name right now for the first time ever, he has two very notable claims to fame in certain segments of the Black male population.

1. He’s one of the best mixtape/freestyle rappers ever. (And, to be clear, not freestyle in the “top of the dome” sense, but freestyle in the “spit 16 or 32 written bars over someone else’s hot beat while you’re in the studio on Shade 45″ sense)

2. His dating history.

From Esther Baxter and Gloria Velez to Yaris Sanchez and Tahiry Jose, Budden has been romantically linked to a dozen or so of the most famous (and unfortunately named) video vixens and internet models ever. While none of these women are household names, any male (Black, White, or Laker Fan) familiar with any of the popular urban magazines (King, XXL, Smooth, etc) definitely know who each of them are.

(There’s also a popular sub-conversation about Budden’s history that basically asks “How the hell is he able to bag all these sought after women?” There are a few theories—he makes great use of social media, he’s well-endowed, etc—but mine is a bit less flattering. I think the only difference between ***insert random rapper or ball-player*** and Joe Budden is that while ***insert random rapper or ball-player*** may sleep with these women on the low, Budden lets everyone know who he happens to be dating. Basically, for people in those circles, these women aren’t really sought after at all, and he just makes public what others are doing privately)

This knowledge prompted one of the patrons in the shop to remark “Budden is f*cking winning! Don’t no one have a badder batch of bitches than he does.” While I was appreciating the unexpected burst of alliteration, the entire shop predictably co-signed. Emboldened with confidence, he took it a step further.

“Shit, Jigga aint even f*cking with him right now.”

The utter audaciousness of that statement quieted the chorus of co-signs. One of the barbers made a face so stank it looked like buffalo just pissed in his beard. Undeterred, he continued.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Beyonce is the baddest chick in the game and all that. But would you rather have Beyonce or a different Beyonce every month?”

Surprisingly, he was quickly and vehemently shot down. (I honestly was surprised how unanimously that particular population of men disagreed with him.) A statement made by one of the older barbers summed up the general sentiment.

“That’s your age talking, yo. Beyonce is a dimepiece worth a billion dollars. The point of the game is to end with the best chick possible and build something with her. Game over. End of discussion. You a f*cking fool if you think otherwise.”

Regardless of how you may personally feel about Beyonce, I’m assuming that the vast majority of the people reading this agree with the barber. While a revolving door of King cover girls may seem appealing, ultimately the best, the most mature, and the smartest thing to do would be to find one woman to build with, a woman who brings her own considerable goods to the table. In the game of life, Jay-Z is beating Budden so badly that they’re not even keeping score anymore.

But, if you remove Beyonce, Budden, Jay-Z, and the video vixens from the discussion, the conversation changes. If given the choice between A) meeting the person of your dreams and spending the rest of your life with that person or B) meeting, dating, sleeping with an assembly line of unfathomably attractive mates, which do you choose?

The “obvious” answer, the politically correct answer, and my answer are all the same: Finding the person of your dreams, and maintaining a good to great relationship with them is the easy choice. But, this choice isn’t so obvious to everyone. George Clooney, Derek Jeter, John Mayer, and, shit, Rihanna—all people who have the ability to date pretty much whoever they want and have been romantically linked with dozens of different extremely attractive mates—might argue that option B is better, and they’d each probably have a very convincing argument.

There’s still no doubt in my mind that when comparing a Jay-Z (a person who has met and married the “person of their dreams”) and a Budden (a person who meets and “greets” a different woman of a hundred thousand wet dreams every month), the Jay-z is definitely “winning.” But, I also have to admit that not every one plays the game the same way (or for the same purpose), and just because I think you’re playing wrong doesn’t mean you’re not “winning” too.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

10 Ways That Black Women Stay Winning

It is the season of champions. What do UConn men’s basketball, LeBron James and Charlie Sheen have in common? They are all winning. Do you know who else is winning? White women. More specifically, when it comes to playing for the ultimate title of Wife, white women are the All-Star MVPs 

This paragraph is from “Why White Women Are Winning” — an article published by UPTOWN Magazine last week that gives reasons why white women are, well, “winning” in the game of love while clearly implying that since white women are winning, black women are definitely losing.

As you probably guessed, this created quite a stir in the black blogosphere. In fact, if you google “white women winning,” the first results page will show five different responses to that article written in the past three days, including “Paper Thin: Why the white women are winning argument is a losing one” from the homie Sister Toldja.

(It’ll also show a thread from Yahoo Answers titled “How can us white men start winning back our women once again from other races” — a topic that proves once and for all that everybody is wrong about everything, all of the time.)

Anyway, while the other responses are a bit more reactive and defensive, I thought I’d go a different direction and list ways that black women are in fact winning.

Here’s 10 of them.

1. They’re usually not the protagonists in super shitty romantic comedies

While some might interpret this as proof that black women aren’t as desirable as the Katherine Heigls and Jennifer Anistons of the world, I tend to look at it a different way. You see, because most romantic comedies revolve around thimble-headed white women making thimble-headed white woman decisions, people who’ve seen enough of these movies can’t help but begin to think that, well, all white women must be thimble-headed. This thimble-headed/silly bitch stigma largely escapes black women, a fact which definitely helps them get high scores while playing Words With Friends.

2. Their “window of bangingness” is much, much longer than all other women’s.

Between the fine wines – women who seem to get better looking as they get older (think Halle Berry), the steadies — women who seem to look exactly the same as they did when they were 25 (think Stacey Dash), the seasoning salts — super fine 20 year olds who are now super fine 40 year olds (think Nia Long), the martians — women whose combination of age, fineness, and proportions defy the laws of the universe (think Kenya Moore), the shirleys – legitimately old women who still look like they’ll wear your ass out (think Jenifer Lewis), and the loomers — women who decided to wait until they were 43 to become dimes (think Regina King), it’s not a game with black women’s “aging well” game.

3. Their relationships with their girlfriends are better than any relationship you’ve ever had with anyone.

While the dynamics of the black female/black female close friendship aren’t always perfect or even understandable (still not clear why many women choose to include women that they clearly abhor in their inner circles. Seriously, I think we’ll learn who else shot Kennedy before we get a good answer to that), the otherworldly connections they seem to have is laudable, commendable, and, to be honest, even enviable.

(If I was an asshole I would have said “They’re laudable, commendable, and enviable..at least until you introduce an appealing man to the equation. Then, all bets and bras are off.” But, since I’m not an asshole, I didn’t say that.)

4. Their hair gives them an easy excuse to not do, well, anything they don’t want to do.

Even if it’s complete bullsh*t, the reverence and respect others have for black women’s hair allows them to use this reverence and respect as a means to cop out of any undesirable task.

Don’t feel like giving head tonight? Just say that the neck motion will make you sweat, and you don’t want to go to work with your hair looking like you were just adopted by a white celebrity.

Don’t feel like staying at work today? Just tell your boss some bullsh*t about how you “need to leave before your ends explode.” Even though he’ll have absolutely no idea what the hell you’re talking about, he’ll let you bounce because he doesn’t want to risk having to go to sensitivity training again.

Don’t feel like staying faithful to your man? Well, every time you visit your secret lover, just tell your man that you’re going to the hairdresser. That’ll give you a 12 hour window to basically do whatever the hell you want, especially since most men prefer not to know why the hell it takes women an entire Wendy’s work shift to get their hair done.

While we’re still on hair, we can’t forget the fact that…

5. They can change their entire identity with one trip to the hairdresser.

While identity changes happen when non-black women switch up their hairstyles, these changes tend to be more superficial. I mean, so you went from blond to brunette and people take you more seriously. Whoopdy f*cking do. That still won’t get you into Heaven. But a black woman can alter everything from the type of music people assume she listens to the types of men who’ll approach her (and what they say when they approach) just from going from perm to natural.

6. Everyone assumes they’re automatically great cooks, great dancers, competent singers, soulful, community-minded, full of wisdom, unflappable, and sincere.

In fact, the only thing black women ever have to “prove” is whether or not she’s angry, able to find a man, able to keep a man, able to think like a man and act like a lady, and able to find the one eligible, attractive, and available man in the sea of HIV-infected, middle school dropout, homosexual atheist rapist goons she has to choose from.

7. They’re given carte blanche to beat their kids in public.

If little “Johnny Whitemommy” took out his d*ck and started peeing on the mannequins in J Crew, the most he’d probably receive from his mom would be a slight scold and a half-assed teachable lesson. (“Remember Johnny, if you pee in public, at least try to pee in the mannequin’s pocket next time so it doesn’t spill everywhere”)

Why? Well, as soon as the first drop of Johnny’s urine hit the ground, the PC police would have been poised and ready to attack; thumbs ready to call CYS on speed dial while they’re paying close attention to how Johnny’s mom reacts.

On the other hand, black women have no such worry, and in a similar situation, they’d be free to drop kick and punt little Jaheim as far as they’d please.

8. Other races of men write songs specifically about them.

From the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” to Fleetwood Mac/Santana’s “Black Magic Woman,” history is filled with examples of non-black artists writing songs directly inspired by black women. Whether this is fetishization or homage (or somewhere in between) is debatable, but the fact that both of these songs are about 150,000 times cooler than Mighty Casey’s “White Girls” isn’t.

9. They have magical vaginas.

What exactly makes their vaginas magic? Well, that’s the only way to explain how the same woman can produce one kid who looks like Blake Griffin and another who looks like Eddie Griffin.

10. They’re not black men.

Which means that they’re approximately 1752% more likely to stay alive long enough to read this entire list.

Anyway, I’m sure I forgot a few. Can you think of any other ways that sistas stay winning?

The carpet is yours.

—The Champ

***Just in case you missed it, here’s a video recap of “Three Deez” our book signing/anniversary party in D.C. Shout-out to Tim at Jamos Studios for the production***