America: Now What?

Maybe you’re reading this just as confused, angered and frightened as I am of America’s 2016 election results. Maybe you’re just the opposite. Either way, here we are. If you’re a frightened African-American, you might identify w/exactly what I’ve been fearing for months now. Or perhaps you’re a frightened of your LBGT rights being taken away, or the potential Muslim ban, or what will happen with immigration and healthcare, or a host of other legitimate concerns.

Maybe you’ve been part of the social media wave of “we need to love each other and unite now more than ever” from 3am into the morning. Or maybe you said online “we need to respect whoever the winner is” having not respected President Obama’s accomplishments for the past 8 years. Maybe you’re baffled that we went from our first black President to one being elected after a KKK endorsement. Maybe you’re a minority who never felt that America really valued you as a person due to countless evidences of discrimination, murders, racism, and the like (the reason why many older black adults aren’t as surprised about what’s happened). Or maybe you’ve felt that although you’re in the majority in this country, you’ve been pushed aside and ignored until now. Either way, all – a major change is coming.

To the point: what now? As a young, black male, I’m not looking forward to facing the fears now grappling our country. Half of our country has proven what they want, and that they don’t value those different from them, and that is beyond shameful. As much as I could rant about the fear that many of us are facing, I have to do the best I can to be the difference by just doing what God put me here to do. Nothing will change that. I am a choral director, a musician, and a friend. I need to continue making art and share this with my singers, standing as tall as possible. I need to encourage them to use our artwork to both unity us and provide solace for our audiences. I’ve always taught my choirs about the importance our music can have in dark times. I am a firm believer in this, and this will be the best time to uphold that belief. Music has always been a powerful tool, and it will always be my greatest method for unification – no matter how different, we are all people standing together to make one song in our own way.

I encourage all of you, wherever you stand in what’s happening in America – find YOUR solace. Find YOUR song. Find YOUR choir – whatever that is to you. My method of unity might look different than yours, but the love that will come from it may be all we have soon.

(Finally, please do not act on emotion today. If you regularly suffer from depression or anxiety, and you are genuinely concerned after the election results, talk to a loved one or a professional immediately. Seriously.)

Your friend,
-BB2

I need you.jpg

Advertisements

Music Monday: What Goes In Must Come Out!

Hello, and happy Monday friends! It’s been months since I’ve written one of these. Typically I pick a song, artist or album to discuss, heralding whatever musical artistry there is to be enjoyed and appreciated. This time, however, I want to show how music taught me a little lesson this week – and just how powerful it can be.

Have you ever heard the phrase “what goes in must come out?” I always associated this with food, or even work ethic with the sister statement “you get out of it what you put into it!” Well this past Saturday morning, I prepared a very short Spotify “hype” playlist just to give myself some extra upbeat songs to get me ready for the long workday ahead. I’ve become more open-minded to some hip-hop and even trap music artists in recent years (many of them really are artistic & have legitimate things to say in their music!). So what did I put on as I worked out and got ready for work?

This is ONLY one example, and I know what you might be thinking. And you’re right. And no, there is NO point to this song, no substance, no artistic quality, plenty of language, the list goes on. This song exists JUST to be a trap song – something to get you hype in the club. That’s it! And if that’s what you’re looking for, this might have you ready to yell “you GUESSED it!!!!…..WOO! You was RIGHT!!!” So yes, this song exists solely to get you straight turnt. (OG Maco didn’t make much money on anything else, so I guess we’ll let him have this.)

Now the thing is: this and the other songs I blasted that morning sent me to work PUMPED. And I mean PUMPED, as in I had way too much energy. I did the best I could to contain it for the sake of being professional at work, but I had such a rush from the music! It was as if I had an edge of danger in me. Not because it was this dark, evil scary music or anything – I was just way too hyped and could have yelled YOU GUESSED IT!! GRRRAH!! GRRRAH!! at a person at any given moment.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. I had another long work day ahead, and wasn’t feeling my best physically. This time, I put my gospel playlist on, including:

Gospel of course has always been my first musical love, as I’ve talked about on my site before. No matter what contrast in style the Gospel artist is using, there is always a comfort in the messages. I wasn’t even trying to get anything out of it, but as I was driving between church services, I realized that I was in a much different state of mind. I was calm, I was in a good mood, and not feeling my physical best didn’t matter all of a sudden. James Hall and his choir singing about joy, love and hope replaced the AAAAAAAAAAH sensation that I had day before. That translated into an overall controlled, calm and near-peaceful day.

My point? Music is powerful, and what you listen to can directly affect you. I can handle a trap song or whatever once in a while just for fun (or a pointless song to make fun of, like anyone else) – but I overloaded myself on getting hype. The gospel music was calming, artistic and existing to make a point (praising God). I’m not saying you should drop what you’re doing to listen to what worked for me Sunday, or that all trap music is bad. Country, rock or soul might be it for you! What I am saying: just watch what you put into yourself. How we think and act is going to be representative of the various things we put in ourselves or surround ourselves with. And with music being such a powerful entity, we’re prone to be affected before we realized it. I could do a whole ‘nother piece about music and its’ affect on us, but for now: just be aware of what’s going in, so you only get the best coming out.

Happy Music Monday! Now go listen to some good music!!!

-BB2

P.S.: OG Maco’s music video is worth a good laugh.

Louis C.K. Closes a Great SNL Finale


SNL in Season 40 has had a fantastic run. And on their finale, unlike others, they didn’t rely heavily on meta-surprises and cameo appearances; they just prepared good sketch comedy and showcased what has been an absolutely stellar cast. Louis C.K., now third-time host, was featured as a great player also, but he didn’t overshadow the proceedings; he instead worked with them to facilitate the showcase of their talents. In short: SNL40 ended just as great as it started.

COLD OPEN: SUMMERTIME
 (McKinnon, Hammond, Cast)
Hey, what a fun way to open the show! It’s always great to see the entire cast involved in something which shows just what a strong ensemble the show has. And hey, the Clintons are definitely going to remain a part of our lives!
Blackometer: 7.8/10


LOUIS C.K. MONOLOGUE
(Louis CK)
The monologues are typically at their best when the host is a standup comic who can just go out there and do their thing, engaging with the audience by just telling jokes (the very first SNL with George Carlin featured this in 1975). Louis C.K. is great at what he does! But of course, like Chris Rock’s monologue last fall, this is some…sensitive subject matter. Look, I’m a black male, and the “mild racism” bit didn’t upset me because it came from the perspective of comparing his 70s upbringing to now. That’s fine. The second half, although it didn’t have to be worded that way, was up there with riskiest things in 2015 TV comedy.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzh7RtIJKZk

THE SHOEMAKER & THE ELVES (Louis CK, Thompson, Bayer, Bryant)
Oof. My biggest problem with this sketch is it’s placement. By itself, a sketch about dominance and fetishes could be buried later in the show. Mostly, it was just hard watching this sketch after some of the monologue subject matter. And the ending (which felt like “how do we end this?”) made me frightened that we’d get a “Darrell’s House
-esque reprise which makes everything make sense. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Blackometer: 5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao9HFGiK_Pg

THIS IS HOW I TALK (Louis CK, Pharoah, Bayer, Jones, Bryant, McKinnon)
This one was saved instantly from being dead on arrival, simply by Louis C.K.’s first monologue as a Sprint employee who has to continue impersonating his boss’ voice. Watching him here reminds me of Micheal Keaton during the Ad Agency sketch last month – a host who’s just in control and in charge of the sketch.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8PXvqYpGCM

WOOD PSAs (Moynihan, Bayer, Bennett, Louis CK, Strong, Zamata)
Yes, this was silly…but it was funny! More Beck Bennett singing backup in ad parodies.
Blackometer: 7.2/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/wood-psas-062234183.html

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Killam, Davidson, Moynihan)
The best part of Taran Killam’s Tom Brady was Jost’s boyish “oh-aren’t-you-perfect” charm towards him. Pete Davidson ended the season just as charming at the desk as he was at the season premiere, and I can’t wait to see him get even more involved in Season 41. And I’m sucker for puns, and a goofy Colin Jost joke, so yes, “Jalapeno business” was definitely for me. Finally, we got the amazing Riblet, which, even if we’re not completely surprised with the character, will always be fantastic.
Blackometer: 7.8/10

https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/weekend-part-1-062311476.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/weekend-part-2-062713832.html

CABANA (Thompson, Bayer, Louis CK, Strong, Zamata)
This is exactly the same sketch we saw in the Dwayne Johnson episode, and that one only worked because of his undeniable energy to sell the sketch. However, we don’t get that here, and Louis C.K. didn’t seem as into this one as his previous sketches, so it just didn’t work. It was a pretty basic copy-paste from last time.
Blackometer: 3/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/cabana-061711334.html

POLICE LINE-UP (Thompson, Davidson, Killam, Mooney, Bennett, Louis C.K.)
I will always laugh at a well-done “we’re over-the-top theatre people” sketch. Beck Bennett is definitely the star here, and Kyle Mooney (as we’ve seen before) nails several of the mannerisms you’ll see in a thespian troupe. The two of them, for sure, have claimed their place in the continued future of this strong ensemble cast.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/police-line-062235322.html

WHOOPS! I MARRIED A LESBIAN (Thompson, Louis CK, McKinnon, Bryant, Moynihan)
I started to type “if this were a sitcom, I’d watch it” just because of how good everyone is in it. However, I’d rather watch half an hour of either Reese De’What reacting to/defending failed sitcoms like this, or a sitcom featuring Bobby Moynihan playing the 50’s dopey best friend character. He’s got that down like no other.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/wf-channel=snl/forgotten-tv-gems-062713540.html

Best Sketch of the Night: Louis C.K. Monologue
Worst Sketch of the Night: Cabana
Joke of the Night: “Jalapeno Business” – Jost
Observations: Another good episode that strongly represents how solid Season 40 has truly been. This cast (and writing staff) could return as it is in the fall with no changes and sustain the show just fine, provided that they have nowhere to go but up with the talent they possess. My personal hope is for no cast changes whatsoever. Unlike previous seasons, there are no rumors of a repertory player moving on to pursue a movie career or another show; and none of the featured players seem to be in danger of being grossly under-utilized like last season. (You could make a case for Sasheer Zamata not finding a true voice on the show yet, but she has at least shown the potential all year.) Also, the cast is at 15 – which is bigger than it needs to be for letting each of them shine, but still manageable. Plus, the cohesion among them seems very strong, and we’ve also had great glimpses of connecting to each cast member on occasion. It’ll be exciting to see what Season 41 of this truly miraculous show brings to Studio 8H!

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.81

By the way, here’s another cut sketch by Kyle Mooney as NYC standup, Bruce Chandling

Thanks for reading these SNL recaps this season! Happy summer, and here’s to many more SNL seasons!
-BB2

Michael Keaton: 7.15
Martin Freeman
: 6.98
Bill Hader: 6.91
Kevin Hart: 6.86
Dwayne Johnson: 6.81
Louis C.K.: 6.81
Chris Hemsworth: 6.81
James Franco: 6.81
Woody Harrelson: 6.80
Jim Carrey: 6.80
Cameron Diaz: 6.78
Sarah Silverman: 6.78
Reese Witherspoon: 6.76
J.K. Simmons: 6.70
Chris Pratt: 6.54
Taraji P. Henson: 6.42
Amy Adams: 6.18
Scarlett Johansson 6
Chris Rock: 5.75
Dakota Johnson: 5.62
Blake Shelton: 5

Follow Bro. BIB!

Hey all,

My brother Benjamin, a gifted writer, thespian and actor, recently started a WordPress site as well! He’s also writing about movies (top 10 lists, comparisons, discussions, etc.) as well as his thoughts on life and such. He’s also written tons and tons of scripts for plays & movies – you just might see one of those some time! Those of you who enjoy reading such things, I guarantee Bro. BIB will not disappoint. He’s the real writer in the family, frankly – so if you like my stuff, you’ll really enjoy his thoughts. Follow him, read his posts, and say hey!

http://brotherbib.wordpress.com/

-BB2

BB2’s Tips for Summer

we-want-the-summer-2014

So summer has started for me, and maybe many of you already, upon the recent completion of my school semester. Others will kick off summer with Memorial Day, and some next month because they believe everything the calendar tells them. With a slightly lighter load – or, in the very least, nicer weather [cougheventuallycough] comes the desire to spruce things up a bit with fun things to do over the summer. I’ve certainly given thought to how I’ll treat my non-busy moments of summer, as I am in desperate need of this academic break.

Some like to keep it simple. Some like to go on tons of trips, attend parties, or do all kinds of things to stay active. Either way, I say, why not do something you haven’t done before? Just to mix it up a bit. Here are BB2’s tips for a fun, healthy, and memorable summer:

1) One “Off” Day Per Week – Maybe it’s the weekend, or a random weekday when you’re not working. Have one day each week when you are scheduled to do NOTHING. This way you can physically, mentally, and emotionally relax. Maybe finally get the grass cut or the weeds trimmed. Maybe finally call your parents or uncle who keeps leaving messages. Or do a stake-out of a cop doing a stake-out. Because, why not? #CopStakeOut
snl-dykes-and-fats

2) Do Something Creative/Artistic – As humans, we all have aesthetic needs, and thrive much more when we are able to express ourselves in creative ways. So sing a song every few days, take up painting, dance around the house, play music that puts you in a good mood while you’re in the shower, take a class on the art of graffiti, become inspired by the graffiti, dispel the myths about nudity in art being inappropriate, express that myth by drawing your new-found beliefs in representation on a public bridge with graffiti, explain your artistic intentions to the cops when they complain about defacing public property but you have freedom of speech and were therefore doing the crumbling bridge “a favor”, tell the story to your community service buddies while cleaning the bridge despite the fact that they don’t appreciate art as much as the hookah they’re utilizing whilst cleaning…but yeah. Art is fun. Next. (This story not spoken from personal experience.)
parks-and-recreation-jerrys-painting-1_article_story_main

3) Do Something Out of Your Comfort Zone – Jump on a skateboard on your street’s hill. Try that thing you saw on TV that shouldn’t hurt you THAT much. Go to the bar with your friend and make the same drink work for 4 hours. Sneak in a non-alcoholic beverage that looks like one but it isn’t (i.e. milk) just to fool everyone. Buy a new piece for your wardrobe that you wouldn’t normally, but it makes you look/feel great, so why not? Go sky-diving. Eat nothing but Pringles all day while binge-watching 5 seasons of your favorite show. Break your record of how many hours you can sleep without waking up while still breathing. Grab a smoker’s cigarette, put it out & tell them you care. Give them a hug. Find a McDonalds employee (or gas station employee), hug them, and tell them it’ll get better…then coach them on writing a resume. Grab someone’s cell phone and THROW IT ON THE GROUND.

4) Promote Artistry of Yesteryear – Find as many kids as you can and read the original Dr. Seuss books to them. Tell them about how the 2000s movies are insultingly pandering garbage that should be burned. Participate in a movie burning with the children. Teach them how to stop, drop and roll, because I don’t know if parents are doing that anymore.
lorax

5) Travel – Go to the White House and ask Joe Biden for a piggy-back ride. Be insistent.

6) Summer 2014 Movies – Attend a movie that everyone is talking about. Sit in the back and trash-talk it the entire time. OR laugh obnoxiously. If someone attractive openly complains to you, ask for their number and Friday night plans. If you don’t find them attractive, grab their popcorn and THROW IT ON THE GROUND.

can i have yo number

7) Road Trip Randomness – Go on a road trip with one friend and a video camera to a place where no one knows either of you. Record yourselves running up to random strangers to say/do random & slightly inconvenient things that are hilarious to you. Run away immediately. Drive back home laughing about it. Upload the video to YouTube. Become an internet celebrity. Guest star in a Jenna Marbles video. Give me a shoutout.

For example:

You: (from behind) Hey girl…you lookin’ good, in yo’ pony tail…just call me a lawnmower, because you need to cut this OUT! (run away)

Your Friend: (appears seconds later): Hey have you seen my brother? Kind of eccentric guy, sneaks up on people? Oh you did? He did what? I’m so sorry. It’ll never happen again. Hey that’s a nice watch you’re wearing. Wanna go out with me? My father’s the president.

deandre cole

So those are just some of my ideas on what you can do to make summer 2014 a memorable one. Got other ideas/plans? Drop them in the comments below!

Happy Summer!

-BB2

Liebster Award, whaaaat?

Guten tag, mis amigos!

So this week, fellow blogger Ron Lewis bestowed upon me the highest honor a new blogger can receive: the Liebster Award! How cool. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but indeed it is. It’s basically a way to acknowledge & promote newer bloggers for the greater blogging community (I enjoy saying that) to get to know them. Then they do the same for others, and so on. This is cool for me, because I’ve only been at this for a little over a month and don’t consider myself that great at it yet; I’m just doing it for catharsis/fun.

liebster-award

Shoutout to my fellow nominees in Ron’s post:

So the way this works is that I have to answer an icebreaking question that Ron posed to us, and then nominate a few others for you to enjoy.

  • Question: If you inherited a lot of money or won the lottery & never had to worry about money or work again, how would that change your life, and what would you like to do that is different?

  • Answer: I would obviously buy a bunch of world peace for EVERYBODY. Then I’d hire someone to be my personal secretary to help me organize my life. I’m great at being organized actually, but I can’t delegate other tasks to myself when I’m buy multitasking, make sure that I’m not too busy to eat dinner, and give myself shoulder massages.

    • No just kidding. I would get these flipping student loans off, buy myself a soundproof studio, record/write more of my music to produce an album to share with anyone who’ll listen, and take my mom out to a nice dinner. Or impress her and buy cooking lessons.
      world peace

  • My Liebster Nominees These are awesome people I’ve found in my short time blogging thus far.

    • Liz Bickel (http://25centpiececrisis.wordpress.com) She, similar to me, started her blog sometime back to talk about movies, but also to explore the weird journey of being a 20something & getting through the wretched quarter-life-crisis. She also started doing standup locally and got off to a pretty good start. Videos of that are posted on her site.

    • The Girl Who Speaks to Herself (http://thegirlwhospeakstoherself.wordpress.com/) A teen girl who seems smart beyond her years, offering plenty of awesomely thoughtful and deep writings. One of her most recent posts used a plethora of musical terms in a way that I never thought possible outside of bad music pun jokes (What I’ve put my life stocks & bonds in. No really. That’s my forte, if you will. K I’m done)

    • thy critic man (http://thycriticman.com/) – A fantastic movie critic of movies that are currently released, as well as other things such as video games and such. Having broken into reviewing movies myself, it’s great to see how other people do theirs and gaining their opinions, and thus far he’s one of the critics I’m enjoying the most.

    • Geeked Out Movies (http://secretninjamovie.wordpress.com/) – Another movie critic whom I’m enjoying a lot. She recently posted about all the movies to come out this season, and also about religious movies hitting the box office, and whether or not they’re up to snuff with varying expectations. Gives you more great things to think about.

Okay: so now I have to pass on a question for all 4 of you to answer in your own posts. Question: In your opinion, what do you think makes for good comedy?

Congrats to everybody! Thanks for reading my stuff. You’re all cool people. Not just for reading my stuff…but because you exercise the right to read in all the right places, period.

Bloggily Yours,

-BB2

(…’bloggily’?? Ugh. I’m firing my ‘help me come up with clever puns’ intern. Sorry.)