The Mic Check

The purveyor of truth

Keep it moving #30in30

As I sat on the porch engrossed in the conversation I was having on the phone, I saw her out of the corner of my eye.  I was hoping she would say hello and keep walking, but that would be wishful thinking.  My neighbor who couldn’t care less about the cell phone attached to my ear rudely interrupted my hilarious conversation.  As she asked me numerous questions about my unemployment situation and school, I figured she would see the phone and keep walking, but she did not.  The more I tried to continue my conversation, the more she pried.  She eventually left, but I somewhat regret speaking to her.

I am a very talkative person.  However, whenever I see this particular neighbor, I really want to run in the opposite direction.  I don’t understand how someone could be so rude.  Did she not see that I was on the telephone?  Why must she ask me so many questions?  It’s one thing to participate in friendly chitchat, but it’s something else to intrude.

As she talked I tried to come up with different ways to end the conversation, but it just didn’t work out that way.  I would talk on the phone and she would ask another question. How is it possible for someone to be that inconsiderate? It’s polite to speak to people and ask a few questions, especially when you haven’t seen them in a while.  However, when you see that they are in the midst of a conversation, a simple hello will suffice.

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Why did I watch that movie? #30in30

Every once in a while my mother finds movies that I can’t even comprehend why they were made.  Tonight she has me watching Death At A Funeral and while I am laughing hysterically, this movie is,  “interesting” to say the least.  It’s a very stereotypical African American family movie with lots of drama and laughs, if you have a good sense of humor.  Before I watched it my mother said it was another Kingdom Come and after seeing the movie, she was right.

Both of the movies are premised around funeral, and if you’re African American, you know that funerals can cause A LOT of drama.  Chris Rock and LL Cool J’s characters are the oldest siblings who somehow have to clean up the family mess and keep everything in order.  Vivica Fox and Regina Hall are the wives of the oldest sons who are supportive of their husbands and also long to be with child.  However, Fox’s character has had pregnancy issues before, which led to her having a miscarriage in a bucket of chicken.  I wish the latter were hyperbole.  Martin Lawrence and Anthony Anderson are the younger sons who are immature.  In both films Loretta Divine plays the mother.  The similarities are endless.

Kingdom Come and Death At A Funeral are two movies that were funny at times, and other times I have to hang my head in shame.  Do you have a list of movies (not just stereotypical Black films) that you found to be abysmal?  Here’s my list:

Who Made The Potatoe Salad

Words cannot express how horrible this movie was.  After watching my mother gave it away.  However, every time someone brings up horrible potato salad, I go to YouTube to watch this scene.

Love, Sex, and Eating The Bones

I’m a fan of Hill Harper but I have NO idea what possessed him to do this movie.  In the movie he’s a porn addict who is having a hard time finding true love.  I can’t even begin to explain how horrible this movie was

Three Can Play That Game

Two Can Play That Game was ok, but overwhelming more than anything.  Do people really play games like this in relationships?  I thought that the movie was pretty good, but not enough for a sequel.  I found Three Can Play that Game to be unnecessary.  Shanté Smith was still giving relationship advice that did more harm then good.  Yeah, this sequel should have never happened.

Neighbors

I don’t know where to begin with this movie.  Earl (John Belushi) and his wife have the most intrusive neighbors from hell, Vic (Dan Akroyd) and his wife.  While Earl is a stuck up suburban who doesn’t seem to know how to have fun, Earl and his wife are free spirits who don’t understand the concept of invading someones space.  By the end of the movie Earl questions his sanity and realize how boring his life has been until he met his new neighbors.  In the end, Earl leaves his family behind and escapes suburbia with his neighbors as his house burns up in flames.  The movie is as stupid as my summation.

Mr. Gibb (aka The Good Student)

Released as The Good Student, I can’t fathom how this movie was labeled a comedy.  There was absolutely nothing funny about it, AT ALL.  Hayden Panettiere plays a popular student who is given a ride home by her teacher after an argument with her boyfriend.  She kissed him on the cheek and goes into her house.  Unknown to them, the unpopular school gossip girl snapped a picture and released it to the public.  Because he was the last person to see her, they assume he’s responsible for her kidnapping but in the end, it’s not so.  I don’t know how someone could think this was funny.   Even though it was labeled a dark comedy it wasn’t dark or comical.  It was just stupid!

Dear artists, we don’t owe you anything #30in30

As I embark on this journey of becoming a writer, I’ve found that the hardest part sometimes is crafting a pitch to a publication.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  When crafting a pitch it must be able to grab the editor’s attention within the first few lines.  A pitch is VERY important and this is something that not only writers struggle with, but artists as well.

I write for a website that accepts music submissions and what I see a lot is artists submitting their music with a horribly written email.  I’ve received countless emails that have said, “yo wassup, here’s my music,” (Yes, this really happened) and after reading that, their music doesn’t stand a chance of penetrating my ears.  Having misspelled words and using slang is a definite NO!  This might sound trivial but never neglect the red squiggly line.  How am I supposed to take you or your music serious when you can’t even take the time to send a professional email?  If you want someone to take you and your work serious, you need to be able to present your product in a manner that’s going to make me want to listen to, and possibly write about your music.  The struggle to get someone to listen to your music is real and for this reason, you need to ensure that you make a good impression from the beginning.

This is a screenshot of an email I received received from an artist

Another issue that I’ve seen and heard, but never experienced personally, is an artists getting made when you don’t post their music.  I’m sorry to break your heart aspiring artists but a website and blog isn’t obligated to listen to or post our music.  The worst thing you can do is question a website or blog and ask why they didn’t post your music After scrounging the Internet for new music, the worst thing a writer wants is to see an email from a disgruntled artists asking why their mediocre music wasn’t posted.  Doing so will possibly cause your music to go to the spam folder.

Besides sending a shabby email and stalking a writer about why their music hasn’t posted, the most vexing thing you can do is send your music links to people on Twitter.  I can’t express how disturbing this is.  I’ve heard many writers express how it’s annoying for artists to spam you with links on Twitter, especially when they’ve never interacted with you.  This will get you blocked and sadly, another way to not get your music heard.

Getting someone to listen to your music is hard.  YouTube and Bandcamp are full of artists with immense talent, waiting for someone to give them a chance.  Don’t get yourself blacklisted before you’re given the chance to display your talent.

I’m not about that Maybach life #30in30

Music is subjective.  What relates to me won’t necessarily relate to someone else, but that’s the beauty of music.  Music allows us to experience something for three minutes, and it has the ability to impact you greatly.  I can appreciate someone who can create a song so perfect, it’s as if it was written specifically for me.

I’m not a fan of Rick Ross.  Not that I hate his music, but his music isn’t relative to me.  I drive a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am gt that has over 201k miles.  I will probably never see the inside of a Maybach and owning one is definitely wishful thinking.  However, Rick Ross does have the ability to make you envision living the Maybach life when listening to his music.    Still, I don’t fancy his music.

On “Hyundai Elantra Music II”, rapper Nerd Ferguson cleverly rapped about pulling women while driving his Hyundai Elantra, “…when I turn the lights on the Elantra on / All the girls with the sexy pajamas on / try to hit me up to get they salami on.”  If you carefully listen to the song, it’s more about living comfortably and embracing what you do have.  When Nerd raps, “can’t roll my windows up,” I laugh hysterically because the window in my car is off track and I have a problem rolling up the window.  I can relate more to Nerd Ferguson than Rick Ross.

Today’s song in Kirby Lauryen’s A Song A Day installment is parallel to Nerd Ferguson’s “Hyundai Elantra Music II.”  On “Honda Music” Kirby Lauryen isn’t bashing Rick Ross for his lavish lifestyle, she’s singing about the richness of life and how it doesn’t stem from money or material things.

Ross raps about loving money (“Money / my philosophy”) while Kirby is working trying to pay her bills (“Money’s held up / In jobs we trust”).  Ross can afford elaborate vehicles (My Rolls Royce triple black), but Kirby has a hard time getting that 91 unleaded (“Riding till the gas light comes on”).  Am I saying that Rick Ross can’t enjoy the fruits of his labor?   Not at all.  One should be able to work hard and see their dreams come to fruition, instead of working a 9 to 5 and picking from a magician’s hat to see which bill won’t get paid this month.

Kirby Lauryen and Nerd Ferguson have both captured something that’s relative to my life.  The inability to roll up a car window and praying the gaslight doesn’t come on is something I experience frequently.  While Ross is showering strippers with thousands of dollars, I am at Target saying the universal prayer, “please don’t let my card be declined.”

Groupthink and music #30in30

Working in groups isn’t always the best solution to completing a task.  In class we discussed how when they are are more members in a group, some people try to avoid conflict by self-censoring.  They desire cohesiveness, rather than expressing their views.

As we discussed groupthink I began applying it to music, as I do with everything.  I’ve come in contact with so many “fans” who are consumed with fitting into their favorite artists “fan club” or “clique.”  Their main goal is to avoid divergence, even if this means quelling their opinions or acknowledging an alternative view.

I’ve seen this a lot when there’s someone who refers to himself or herself as a fan of someone’s music.   When they express a view opposite loving their favorites new song or video, the rest of the group labels them a hater or not a true fan.  However, it is possible to be a fan of someone’s music without loving every song they sing.

Fans who subscribe to the groupthink ideology are infamous for referring to someone whose views differs from theirs as senseless.  On more than one occasion I’ve come in contact virtually with a fan that has called me thoughtless, vile, and pathetic because I didn’t like their favorite artist. I’ve also had fans summon other fans to attack me because it’s what had to be done.  In their minds, they had to defend their favorite.

Being a fan is not about agreeing with an artist’s music all of the time, but about liking the person’s music while being honest in the event you don’t like a song or album.  The issue with groupthink is that it strips you of your identity.  Individuality is preached in society, yet your allegiance is questioned when you don’t agree 100% with their beliefs.  Being an individual isn’t about conforming but being true to you.

If you like an artist but you don’t like one of their songs, say you don’t like the song or album.  Agreeing with everyone else won’t change how you feel.

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