Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When Being Funny Goes Wrong: A Comedian's Take on the Relevancy of Bill Maher and How Liberalism Got Too Comfortable With Black America


    When a rich, famous Jew calls himself a “house nigga,” we are all in trouble.  Webster’s Dictionary defines “house nigga” as “a Uncle Tom-ish Black slave that works in the home of his white master serving domestically.  Rumored to be treated better than the field slave also having the listening ear of his master.  The truth of the matter is Real Time with Bill Maher is a left-focused show pandering to progressive Democrats and Gays.  The Trump election, in regards to Russian conspiracy theory, showed proof of how delusional and disconnected political elitist liberals have become with the everyday working white voter.  Trump’s victory spit in the face of intellectuals such as Maher.  How do you remain relevant on the losing team?  The struggle is trying to sound young, fresh, and edgy when you’re an old, white, lame millionaire.

Who cares?  Less and less people obviously.  Maher’s attempt to evoke passion into his stale show’s format was to invite Alt-Right leader, and all around rebel rouser, Milo Yiannopoules on the show for a crossfire debate.  Milo showed himself to be everything Bill once was yet is no longer.  His point of view and outsider’s swag made the geezers on the panel seem older than they actually are.  Maher had a difficult task ahead.  How does he prove to his audience he is still criminally insane without harming any group of people with true power and privilege enough trigger real world consequence? He picked a powerless target.

            Common sense tells us white people have a simple equation; your life for my luxury.  American whites are willing to continuously kill to ensure a quality of life for themselves.  Anyone in America is a beneficiary by proxy of those theatrics.  All races, other than Anglo-Saxon Americans, can be called “house niggas” from enjoying freedoms offered in this nation.  Bill told the truth.  He, as we all are, is a “house nigga.”  With a stinging comedic delivery, he told a useless and tactless truth as a publicity stunt that backfired—only a little bit.  Ultimately, the stunt, though it angered many, was successful in that Real Time with Bill Maher is still airing on HBO and his name has been in the media and on the tips of the pens of bloggers for the past week and a half.  Maher has been revitalized and made relevant again.  Blacks cannot stop whites from saying “nigga,” so it is in the best interest of Black Americans to cease being so easily offended and enraged and emotionally-puppeteered by attention-seeking puppet masters.

                                                                                         -Henry “House Nigga” Coleman
      (Instagram: Henry.Coleman.733)
      (Twitter: @comichenry)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ball ‘Til You Fall: How Lavar Ball and His 'Big Baller Brand' is Redefining the Notion of Black Ownership



       Lavar Ball has been a constant presence in sports media, a danger to some and a darling to others, for the last couple of months.  Almost immediately after UCLA was defeated in the Sweet Sixteen by the University of Kentucky,  the University of California at Los Angeles star point-guard Lonzo Ball ended his brief collegiate career and declared himself eligible for next month’s NBA Draft. And from that day forward Lavar Ball, with the aid of ESPN and Fox Sports, unleashed the Big Baller Brand’s promotional juggernaut like the Krackin. His brash antics and claims of the greatness of his oldest son’s skill-set and potential has cast fear into the hearts of sports pundits, NBA franchises, and the Big Three sports apparel companies (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour) of his, and, I “think,” the family’s Big Baller Brand sports apparel company.

      Now, I’m not statistician. And even though I have been teaching at the collegiate level for almost 15 years, and have been dubbed a scholar by many, I detest the tedious task of researching.  I have never and will never claim myself to be a statistician.  So, my comment section-reading “survey” Lavar Ball-focused social media posts is probably faulty, but definitely not unreliable, yet I cannot help but notice that “the hate is real.” 

      I have read, and reread, claims and  assertions that the elder Ball is arrogant and even delusional to demand and expect greatness from his first-born son, Lonzo (Ball—he has the same last name as his father which is not always a guarantee in the Black American Community), let alone attempt to commandeer a distribution deal, rather than a shoe contract, from one of the Big Three sports apparel companies (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour).  I have perused numerous comments from people, mainly Black males, rhetorically accuse him of being arrogant, ignorant, foolish and even an exhibitionist of the stereotypical buffoonery of the often-cited legend of the Black American caricature “coon.”  You know, the loud, obnoxious, inarticulate Black male that will do and say any and everything in an attempt to kowtow, entertain, and be economically-fed by his white master, oppressor, or authoritative and financial superior.  

     What I cannot understand is why it is so difficult to rally behind a man that, regardless as whether it be ego and selfishness or grasp for economical gain for himself and his family or a legitimate and authentic "want" for his sons to "own" their athletic productivity, wants his son, and sons, to own their physicality and body? 

           Since 1619, the Black body, particularly the male body, has been commodified, abused, and exhausted for economic gain vis a vis the institution of slavery and laborious tasks in the United States and, for the most part, only white men, or corporations owned and operated by white men, have capitalized and profited from these bodies.  So, why is it a problem when a Black male, and father of the body that the NBA and Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and other sports apparel companies would like to profit from, wants to cut out the middle-man and take that massive entrepreneurial leap of faith of investing in himself?  I say “himself” because any man that has a child, let alone a son, believes that he is innately and physiologically a part of, if not part-owner, of the flesh in which he created.  

     Again, why is he being castigated for attempting to guide his son towards the path of "self-ownership" and Black entrepreneurship?  Is it because America and the corporations that profit from the Black Body do not want to equitably share in the "ownership" of the Black Body?  Is it because Lavar Ball may create a spark that prompts future generations of Black Athletes to "own" themselves rather than collect a few million dollar checks for their superhero-like athletic feats and skills?  Or is it that Black Entrepreneurship and a Black Father, who is not only present, but actively involved, and loves his seeds, is a seldom seen and foreign obstacle that the oppressive culture of American sports, particularly the National Basketball Association, is unwilling and scared, for lack of a more demonstrative term, to engage?  

     In 2016,  the Nike Jordan Brand made $2.8 Billion dollars of which Michael Jordan took home a paltry sum of $66 million.  LeBron James’ Nike shoes and apparel garnered Phil Knight’s corporation $ 350 million dollars while  King James grossed six percent of those profits ($20 million).  Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO is worth a reported $2 Billion dollars and Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight is worth $25 Billion.  Reports show that the three major sports apparel companies, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, grossed $32.4, $19.291, and $4.8 billion respectively.  Now, do you see why Daddy Ball wants more ownership or compensation for the talent connected to his eldest heir which will be exploited, one way or the other, for public consumption?  Lavar is only mimicking George and Weezy Jefferson in that he, as other athletes should, wants a “piece of the pie.”  The only problem is the Lavar Ball, and family, want a bigger piece than what has, up until this point, been given.  And some people, it seems, don’t like to see the pie sliced in an equitable manner. But, Lavar wants to be a baller.  And with the surname he and his family have, why shouldn’t he? And most ballers are bosses, and bosses get paid.  You dig?

                                                                                                      -Gee Joyner

Too Close for Comfort: A White Man Called Himself a N!gg#r The Other Day


My parents raised me to believe in whatever God I wanted. I just had to do my research.  So, I was kinda raised atheist? Coming up in 1980s and 90s North Carolina meant that there was Jesus in my face every day--whether I wanted it or not.  This continued throughout college  which is why when Bill Maher started doing his Religiocity thing, I became a fan.  I used to watch Real Time regularly. And this is why I’m really torn about this current kerfuffle with Bill Maher calling himself a “house nigger.”
  I watched the clip, a conversation between Maher and some Nebraska politician.  The politician told Maher he should come work in the fields of Nebraska.  He insinuated Maher couldn’t handle that kind of good ‘ol American work.  Maher fired back with feigned indignation with something akin to, “Field work? I’m a house nigger.”
            So now, everyone is calling Maher a racist.  Liberals and progressives are calling for the show’s cancellation, including some celebrities like Chance the Rapper. Conservatives are appalled at the racist scandalamity Maher has found himself in.   There are black folk on Facebook saying that the word should forever be stricken from our lexicon and collective memories. Hell, even alt-right racists are calling Maher racist. 
            I think I might disagree.
            Maher did what white folks have been doing to black folks since day one in this country--  Taking something that isn’t theirs and appropriating it for themselves. Maher used the N-word with contextual prowess.  But in doing so, he disrespected black history, black experience, black suffering, black thought, and most of all, black victory. A millionaire white progressive just compared himself to a slave in America. He used that joke, which would have been hilarious if Dave Chappelle had said in that interview chair, for himself. He took black angst, and wrapped it up in snark, and used it promulgate whiteness, and then served it to his fellow agent of whiteness in a debate about nationalism. 
            Was Maher racist?  I don’t think so.  With something as charged as a white guy using the n-word, Maher considered the potential consequences.  And he probably figured he could weather the storm.  But that’s the problem.  Maher perpetuated systems of whiteness by appropriating a theme related only to black comedy and whitewashed it.  He got his Tom Sawyer-picket fence on. That’s it.  His audience is mostly white, some even booed in the audience.  Maher just shrugged them off.  He told what he thought was a funny joke.

            But it stuck in me the wrong way.  Maher could have used his privilege for the actual cause of disrupting systems of whiteness in this country.  After catching the backhanded work ethic insult from the politician, Maher could have looked him in the eye and said, “Field work? Huh? I’m white. You better go do what you normally do and exploit some Mexicans.” Same feigned indignation, but an even more powerful impact.  But Maher didn’t want to piss off that demographic of white folk.  So instead, he used the n-word for himself. 

                                                                                          -Anjan Basu

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Time to Pass the Ball: Why Lavar Ball is More of a Hindrance to Lonzo Than a Help

As I've watched the lives of the Ball Family unfold over the last year, it's been impossible not to hear more of Poppa Ball AKA Lavar Ball, and his marketing of the Big Baller Brand (BBB), than about the actual skill-set of his son Lonzo—who, by the way, is one of the front runners for being drafted within the top three picks in June’s NBA Draft.   Zo's performance as a freshman has wowed fans all over the country and will most likely place him in competition with the "creme de la creme" of NBA rookies next season. However, it seems another level of competition has come from the likes of his own father's grandiose level of promotion of the Big Baller Brand.
 On the surface, Lavar Ball seems to be another typical overtly-involved sports dad that wants to see his boy get the most recognition possible. This type of dad is commonplace in youth sports and beyond, yet Lavar Ball is more than that. He's more than just an overbearing dad, that thinks his son is the "2nd coming". No no no... he's the ultimate God-level troll that seems to piss lots of people off with his verbose machismo.  The elder Ball captures others with his ability to promote with flair and undeniable captivation. When he talks, people listen.  No matter how outlandish the claim may be. For example, he recently stated, when speaking of his oldest heir, "Zo is better than Steph Curry.”  Now, anyone with any knowledge of the game of basketball knows this is simply not true.
Based on the time Lavar has been the focus of the much debated controversy surrounding his sons and the BBB, there has been a lot of discussion about the premium price of the shoe and his ability to market it to a "select level" of individuals. The inflated retail of a signature shoe that hasn't been tested, reviewed, or vetted in any way reflects the bravado that Lavar displays concerning his son's, his brand, and most of all himself. Even though he isn't the first to offer an untested product at premium price to the market, he is, however, the first to do this in the basketball arena; One dominated by players who are proven superstars. From a business perspective, the price doesn't match the value that buyers typically find when making that type of purchase.
So. long term. the brand will have to build loyalty in order to sustain and achieve profitability. But again, we seem to be talking more about the shoes, the brand, and the sports dad, instead of the player that is to be drafted on June 22nd; Lonzo Ball.  You know the actual basketball player from UCLA that has to perform on the court to solidify his position as one of the sport’s best. His father, Lavar Ball,  has solidified himself as one the media's best at garnering attention by arrogantly proclaiming that "Lonzo will only play for the Lakers". It is now time for “Baby Ball” to take the bottle out of his mouth and speak for himself.  A young man is only as good as the freedom his father gives him to be autonomous. And if that father inserts himself into the young man’s decisions, he may cripple the opportunity for that young man to grow and develop into the “individual” that he is meant to be.  Solely crafted by him, not his dad.   It's time for Lavar to pass the ball. 

                                                                                                    -Samuel Ivan Upshaw